You might call him Italy’s answer to Bill Shankly, some 30 years on. The boy from Cusano Milanino, near Milan, who once assembled laundry irons and print type, has become Italy’s most matter-of-fact and down-to-earth coach.

He has also become the one to win most titles. In a year that has been nothing if not an ‘annus horribilis’ for Italian soccer, one man has consistently flown the colours with style and success.

That man, of course, is Giovanni Trapattoni, coach to an Italy side who have cruised through their World Cup qualifying group on a fast track to South Korea and Japan.

While Italian clubs were flopping miserably in Europe and while a succession ofpassport, match- fixing and dope scandals were rocking the Italian game, Trapattoni’s team strolled through