Alfredo Foni (Italian pronunciation: [alˈfreːdo ˈfɔːni]; 20 January 1911 – 28 January 1985) was an Italian footballer in the 1930s and later on a coach, who played as a defender. He is one of only four players to have won both an Olympic gold medal and the FIFA World Cup with the Italy national football team.
Foni in the early 1930s–40s
|Date of birth||20 January 1911|
|Place of birth||Udine, Italy|
|Date of death||28 January 1985 74)(aged|
|Place of death||Lugano, Switzerland|
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Foni was born in Udine, and he made his professional debut with local club Udinese at the age of 16, in 1927, in the Prima Divisione (the predecessor to the Italian Serie A); he later moved to Lazio in 1929. He later moved to Padova for a brief stint after a few seasons in Roma.
Foni later transferred to Juventus in 1934, replacing Virginio Rosetta. Along with teammate Pietro Rava at the Turin club, he formed one of the best defensive partnerships in Italy, and in the world, as they went on to win the 1936 Summer Olympics and 1938 FIFA World Cup with Italy, as well as the 1935 League title with Juventus, as well as two Coppa Italia titles in 1938 and 1942. He remained with the club until 1947, and between 1934 and 1947, he never missed a single match for seven consecutive seasons.
In total, he made 266 League appearances with Juventus, and 370 total appearances in Serie A, after making his debut in the competition on 2 February 1930, with Lazio, against Pro Vercelli. He moved to play with Chiasso during the 1948–49 season, making only three appearances in the league, before retiring.
He became a permanent member of the starting line-up at the 1938 FIFA World Cup, replacing Roma full-back Eraldo Monzeglio, starting alongside his Juventus team-mate Rava, and helping Italy to defend their World Cup title. He ended his international career in 1942, with 23 appearances; along with Pietro Rava, Sergio Bertoni, and Ugo Locatelli, Foni is one of only four Italian players ever to win both the Olympic tournament and the World Cup.
Following his retirement, he coached in Italy and Switzerland, although Italy failed to qualify for the 1958 World Cup. He won two consecutive scudetti with FC Internazionale in 1953 and 1954, and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup with Roma in 1961. He later coached Switzerland in the 1966 FIFA World Cup.
Style of management
Foni is known for having used the catenaccio tactic successfully during his time as Inter's manager in the 1950s; unlike Nereo Rocco's version of the system, however, Foni's teams's strong defensive play off the ball did not limit the offensive manner in which his team played while in possession of the ball. In his system, his team's right winger, Gino Armano, would drop back to mark the opposing the team's left winger (essentially acting as a tornante), allowing Ivano Blason, the right-back, to shift across and act as a sweeper and clear balls away.
- "Alfredo Foni". Enciclopediadelcalcio.com. Archived from the original on 8 May 2008.
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- "Capitolo VIII: Ritratti dei Campioni del Mondo: 1938 Italia" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- "Nazionale in cifre: Foni, Alfredo". www.figc.it (in Italian). FIGC. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Switzerland - Trainers of First and Second Division Clubs". Rsssf.com. 20 June 2007. Archived from the original on 27 June 2008.
- Andrea Schianchi (2 November 2014). "Nereo Rocco, l'inventore del catenaccio che diventò Paròn d'Europa" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- "Storie di schemi: l'evoluzione della tattica" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
- "Nereo Rocco" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- Damiani, Lorenzo. "Gipo Viani, l'inventore del "Vianema" che amava il vizio e scoprì Rivera". Il Giornale (in Italian). Retrieved 19 May 2020.
- Chichierchia, Paolo (8 April 2013). "Piccola Storia della Tattica: la nascita del catenaccio, il Vianema e Nereo Rocco, l'Inter di Foni e di Herrera (IV parte)" (in Italian). mondopallone.it. Archived from the original on 20 August 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
- Wilson, Jonathan (2009). Inverting The Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics. London: Orion. pp. 159–66. ISBN 978-1-56858-963-3.