March 26, 2020 / 5:41 PM / 10 days ago

France mourns Euro 84-winning coach Hidalgo, dead at 87

FILE PHOTO: Former French team coach Michel Hidalgo attends an international friendly soccer match between France and Germany at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, near Paris, February 6, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - Michel Hidalgo, who coached current world champions France to their first major soccer title at the 1984 European Championship, has died at the age of 87.

The French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed the news on its website on Thursday.

Hidalgo also took France to the 1982 World Cup semi-finals, losing to West Germany on penalties, but the 1984 tournament on home soil was an emotional highlight with French playmaker Michel Platini grabbing nine goals in five matches to finish as the tournament’s top scorer.

France beat Spain 2-0 in the final at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

The creative midfield quartet marshalled by Platini with Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Luis Fernandez was acclaimed as the “Magic Square” (Carre Magique).

“The federation, our football is in mourning,” said FFF president Noel Le Graet.

“Michel Hidalgo is one of the greatest names in French football...through his footballing philosophy, his personality, his exemplary passion, he contributed to our sport shining internationally and its popularity in France.”

Hidalgo was an attacking midfielder for Le Havre, Reims and Monaco between 1952-66. He scored in the 1956 European Cup final in Paris where Reims lost 4-3 to Alfredo Di Stefano’s Real Madrid.

He coached France from 1976 to 1984 and was director of football at Olympique de Marseille from 1986 to 1991.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond

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