15 October 2017

Angelo Schiavio - footballer

Scored goal that won Italy's first World Cup

Angelo Schiavio played all his club football with Bologna
Angelo Schiavio played all his club
football with Bologna
Angelo Schiavio, the hero of the Italian football team’s first World Cup victory in 1934, was born on this day in 1905 in Bologna.

The centre forward, a prolific goalscorer for his home-town club in Serie A, scored the winning goal in the final against Czechoslovakia to hand victory to the Azzurri in the 16-team tournament, of which the Italians were hosts.

In the final at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome, the Azzurri had gone behind to a goal by the Czech winger Antonin Puc with 19 minutes remaining, but equalised 10 minutes later through Raimundo Orsi, the Argentina-born forward from Juventus, taking the match into extra time.

Schiavio struck the decisive goal, driven home with his right foot from a pass by Enrique Guaita, another Argentine – one of 12 to represent Italy and Argentina in the days before playing for more than one nation was outlawed.

It was his fourth goal of the tournament, sparking massive celebrations in Rome and across Italy, albeit in a mood of triumph hijacked by Benito Mussolini and his Fascist regime.

Rumours circulated, almost inevitably, that match officials had been bribed to make decisions favouring the Italians, much to the frustration of coach Vittorio Pozzo, although he was able to validate the victory four years later when the Azzurri retained the trophy in France.

Schiavio hailed from a large family – he was the eighth child – who had originated in Gorla, a tiny hamlet in the hills above Lake Como, close to the villages of Zelbio, Valeso and Erno.

Schiavio's goal beats the Czech 'keeper in the 1934 final
Schiavio's goal beats the Czech 'keeper in the 1934 final
They had run a silk mill before moving to Bologna a year before Angelo was born to start a business selling clothing and underwear made from wool, under the name of Schiavio-Stoppani.

Their first store, opened in 1919, was located on the corner of Via Clavature and Via dei Toschi, right in the historic centre of the city.  The business would grow, expanding into sports equipment, and continued to trade as a family enterprise until the early part of the 20th century.

Angelo Schiavio played an active part in the business himself once his career was over.

As a player, renowned for his power and pace as a centre forward, with excellent dribbling skills and a fierce shot, he made 348 appearances for Bologna between 1922 and 1938, scoring 242 goals, having made his debut against Juventus in January 1923, at the age of just 17. By the end of his first half-season he had scored six goals.

He helped Bologna win the scudetto – the Italian Serie A title – for the first time in their history in 1924-25, winning three more championships in the rossoblu shirt.

Schiavio’s career goals tally remains the highest by any Bologna player and the fourth highest among all Italians. Only Silvio Piola, Giuseppe Meazza and, from the modern era, Francesco Totti have scored more goals over their careers.

Schiavio in the
national colours
For the Azzurri, he struck 15 goals in 21 appearances, scoring twice on his debut against Yugoslavia in Padua in 1925. He twice scored hat-tricks for the national team, the first time in an incredible 11-3 victory over Egypt in the third-place match at the 1928 Olympics in the Netherlands, the second in the opening match of the 1934 World Cup, when Italy thrashed the United States 7-1.

The final was his last international appearance, although he would play on in club football until 1938.

As a coach, he was twice part of a technical committee at Bologna and served the national team in a similar capacity between 1953 and 1958, before leaving football and devoting himself to the family business.

He died in 1990 at the age of 84 and is buried in the Monumental Cemetery of Certosa in Bologna.

Lake Como has an abundance of picturesque lakeside towns and villages
Lake Como has an abundance of picturesque lakeside
towns and villages
Travel tip:

Zelbio, Valeso and Erno are picturesque small villages nestling in the tree-lined hills that descend gently towards the shore of the western branch of Lake Como, about 50km (31 miles) north of Milan, about 25km (16 miles) from Como itself and a similar distance from Bellagio.  The best way to appreciate the beauty of the area is to take one of the ferry services that link the lakeside towns.

Piazza Maggiore in the centre of Bologna
Piazza Maggiore in the centre of Bologna
Travel tip:

The Schiavo-Stoppani store, on the corner of Via Clavature and Via dei Toschi, was in a prime location in the centre of Bologna, only a few metres from the historic heart of the city in Piazza Maggiore.  Via Clavature is an interesting, narrow street lined with fruit and vegetable stores and has several bars and restaurants.

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