On This Day – November 6, 1996: Sacchi’s Last Game as Italy Coach

The age of Arrigo Sacchi’s tenure as Italy’s coach was one of love and hate for the Nazionale. After winning everything possible with Milan, the “Prophet of Fusignano” was in charge of the Azzurri for five years, since 1991 to 1996.

But even though the former Rossoneri manager led Italy to a second place at the 1994 World Cup, his convoluted tactical choices, boring game play, and an attitude that many perceived as obnoxious won him very few supporters among the demanding Italian fan base.

On November 6, 1996, Sacchi directed the Azzurri for the last time. He didn’t know that a friendly game played in a battle-scarred Sarajevo against Bosnia Herzegovina would be his last showing as Italy’s commander in chief.

On that day, a patched-up version of Italy was defeated 1-2 by the Bosnians, who could thus celebrate their first, historical win in a match officially sanctioned by FIFA.

Bosnia took an early lead with Hasan Salihamzidic, the current director of sports at Bayern Munich. Enrico Chiesa, the father of today’s Juventus striker Federico, leveled things up for the Azzurri. But, on 43 minutes, Elvir Bolic scored Bosnia’s second, historical goal.

It was not such a poor showing, however, to cause Sacchi’s demise. The Azzurri coach left the Nazionale on his own will just a few weeks later as he answered president Silvio Berlusconi’s sudden call to come back to Milan to save their disastrous season.

Things would not quite turn out as hoped for him and the Rossoneri, but this is a different story.

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