Gianpiero Combi: Wikis


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Gianpiero Combi
Personal information
Date of birth November 20, 1902
Place of birth    Turin, Italy
Date of death    August 12, 1956 (aged 53)
Place of death    Turin, Italy
Height 1.81m (5ft 11in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
1921-34 Juventus 367 (0) [1]   
National team
1924-34 Italy 47 (0)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Olympic medal record
Competitor for  Italy
Bronze 1928 Amsterdam Team Competition

Gianpiero Combi (November 20, 1902 – August 12, 1956) was one of Italian football's greatest goalkeepers of all-time [2]. He spent his entire career at Juventus FC and won the 1934 World Cup with the Italian national team. He was considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world [3] during the 1930s alongside Ricardo Zamora and František Plánička.


Club career

Born in Turin on 20 November 1902 and played for Juventus' youth side, he debuted in the Italian Serie A on February 5, 1922 in a match against Milan. Combi played for Juventus FC his entire career, he played 351 games in Serie A, winning five titles - in 1926 (having conceded only 18 goals during the season [4]), 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1934 as part of the first golden age of the club with a record of five championship victories in a row, a feat known as Il Quinquennio d'Oro (The Golden Quinquennium [5]).

Along with Virginio Rosetta and Umberto Caligaris, Combi formed a formidable defensive wall (known in Italy as the Trio Combi-Rosetta-Caligaris [6]) for both Juventus and the Italian national team. He played his last match in Serie A on April 15 1934, in a 2-1 win over Brescia. In total Combi played for 13 seasons with Juventus, totaling 348 Serie A matches and another 16 games in the Central European Cup [1], an international competition for clubs where Juventus played four consecutive semi-finals from 1932 to 1935 [7] to claim the record for most appearances by a goalkeeper for the club, a record he held for more than 40 years until Dino Zoff in the 1970s (476 matches) and Stefano Tacconi in the 1980s (377 matches)[8].

The Italian national team

Combi's first match for the Italian national team was in Budapest, at the age of 21, on April 6 1924 in a 7-1 loss against Hungary [2]. He returned in Azzurro a year and seven games later when the Technical Commission, made up of Rangone, Giuseppe Milano and Baccani selected him to play against France in Turin on the 22 March 1925. This match was played in Corso Marsiglia Stadium and this time the large score was in favor of the Azzurri, a victory of 7-0 [9]. After this match Combi never looked back and for the next ten years it was extremely rare to see another goalkeeper defending the Italian posts.

The 1928 Olympic Games were held in Amsterdam and this time Combi formed part of the squad and defended the Italian squad for the rest of the tournament: Quarter Final against Spain 1-1 after extra time, Quarter Final Replay against Spain 7-1 [9], Semi Final against Uruguay 2-3 [9] and 3rd Place Final against Egypt 11-3 [9]. With this result on June 10 1928 in the Olympisch Stadion of Amsterdam, the Azzurri won their first honour: the Bronze Medal of the 9th edition of the Olympic games.

Other triumphs followed, the next being the winning of the inauguralCentral European International Cup [10], a predecessor cup of the European Nations Cup held between the National teams of Central Europe. In these matches Italy lost against Matěj Šindelář's Austria 0-3 in Vienna [11] but won all the others, against Switzerland 3-2 in Zurich [11], against Czechoslovakia 4-2 in Bologna [11] and the last match against Hungary on 11 May 1930

Combi made his debut as the Italian captain in his 33rd game on November 15 1931 [11].

The 1934 World Cup

Around the beginning of 1934, 31-year-old Gianpiero Combi was preparing to retire from football. In this season he was on the way to winning his fifth Italian championship (a record fourth in a row) with Juventus and he had played more than 40 games for the national team. A new promising young goalkeeper was emerging : Carlo Ceresoli, who played for Inter. On his debut Ceresoli had helped the national team to qualify for the 1934 World Cup which was held in Italy that summer, by eliminating Greece in Milano by a 4-0 win [11]. But the National Coach Vittorio Pozzo included Combi in the Italian squad -he was also one of the Nazio-Juve members- and was asked by Pozzo to postpone his retirement until the end of the tournament as his experience might be a great help. During a training session a few weeks before the beginning of the tournament, a shot by Pietro Arcari broke one of Ceresoli's forearms. This forced him to miss the World Cup and Combi again found himself the top goalkeeper in Italy, with the responsibility of leading the Azzurri to their debut in football's premier competition.

The first match was on May 27 1934 when Italy played the first round of the World Cup in the Stadio Nazionale of the P.N.F. in Rome against the United States. The Azzurri beat their opponents 7-1, [11] a victory provided by a hat trick from Angelo Schiavio, a double from Raimundo Orsi and a goal each from Giovanni Ferrari and Meazza. In the Quarter finals the Italians met Spain, who were led by another great goalkeeper of the time, Ricardo Zamora. The game was played on May 31 1934 in the Stadio Comunale "Giovanni Berta" of Florence. The game against the Spanish team was a very difficult one, dominated by the speed and force used by both teams and finished in a 1-1 draw after extra time [11]. A replay had to be played the next day, in which Italy changed four players and Spain seven. Italy won 1-0 with a goal by Meazza [11].

Their semi-final opponents were the Austrian Wunderteam [6], the squad who had beaten the Italians 4-2 in Turin four months earlier. The match was played in Milano's Stadio Calcistico San Siro on 3 June and the Azzurri won 1-0 with a goal by Enrico Guaita [11]. Combi was also decisive when he made two miraculous saves to keep the score in favor of Italy until the end. The final was held in Rome on June 10 1934 against Czechoslovakia. The first half finished without a goal but in the 71st minute, against all odds, Antonin Puč managed to beat the Italian goalkeeper. Ten minutes later Orsi equalized and the game went to extra-time. With the help of a noisy support, so great that the rival coach Pozzo had to continually run along the pitch so that the players could hear his instructions, Italy won the match through a goal by Schiavio and the Italian team were crowned World Champions. Gianpiero Combi, who played 510 minutes and conceded three goals as captain of the squad, received the Jules Rimet trophy from the Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini [12].

End of career and retirement

A year later, in November 1935, Combi played only five of the eight matches in the International Cup and in his absence the Italian team won the trophy. He totalled 47 caps [2] for the Italian team, 5 of which were as captain.

Although he had stopped playing football, his passion for the sport remained all his life and he still held a number of unofficial positions with Juventus. He offered advice to the technical staff and also served as a scout. In 1951 the Italian Football Federation offered him the job of technical commissioner for the Italian national team with Carlino Beretta and Toni Busini. They led the National Team for seven months, from 8 April to 25 November 1951 in which time the Italian squad played 5 games without any losses. They won 4-1 against Portugal and France, and drew against Yugoslavia (0-0), Sweden (1-1) and Switzerland (1-1) - the only competitive game of the five.

He died in Imperia in August 1956, aged 54.







See also

External links


  1. ^ a b c (Italian) Statistic Area - All Juventus FC players: Gianpiero Combi -
  2. ^ a b c Special on the Azzurri - the greatest: Gianpiero Combi -
  3. ^ (Italian) Calcio (sport): calciatori celebri (page 4) - Archived 2009-10-31.
  4. ^ (Italian) All Juventus FC matches: Italian Federal Championship (pages 14 and 15) -
  5. ^ (Italian) Italian Football Championship: The birth of FIGC Serie A -
  6. ^ a b (Italian) 1934 Italia: The three schools confront (chapter four) -
  7. ^ Mitropa Cup -
  8. ^ a b (Italian) Statistics: players with most matches at Juventus FC -
  9. ^ a b c d Italy - International Matches 1920-1929 -
  10. ^ Also knowned as the Švehla Cup. After the Second World War the championship was known as the Dr. Gerö Cup.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Italy - International Matches 1930-1939 -
  12. ^ (Italian) 1934 Italia: 10 June 1934, the final match (chapter ten) -
  13. ^ From 1930-31 season to 1934-35 season. See also Valerio Bacigalupo, who has won the Scudetto with Torino F.C. 1906 from 1945-46 season to 1948-49 season) is the only Italian goalkeeper to win 4 consecutive Scudetti.
  14. ^ From the third match (Juventus 6-0 Milan on 25 October 1925) to thirteenth match (Parma 0-3 Juventus on 28 February 1926) of the FIGC Football Championship 1925-26 according to (Italian) All Juventus FC matches: Italian Federal Championship (pages 14 and 15) -
  15. ^ Football World Cup, 1934, Italy -
Preceded by
José Nasazzi
FIFA World Cup
winning captain

Succeeded by
Giuseppe Meazza

Simple English

Gianpiero Combi
File:Frantisek planicka x gianpiero
Personal information
Full name Gianpiero Combi
Date of birth 20 November 1902(1902-11-20)
Place of birth    Turin, Italy
Date of death    12 August 1956 (aged 53)
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11+12 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper (retired)
Senior clubs
Years Club
1921-1934 Juventus
National team
1924-1934 Italy

Gianpiero Combi (born 20 November 1902 - died 12 August 1956) is a former Italian football player. He has played for Italy national team.

Club career statistics


Club Performance League
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals
1929/30Serie A340
CountryItaly 3510
Total 3510

International career statistics


Italy national team



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