Italy mourn former captain Facchetti

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Italy's preparations for their rematch of the World Cup final against France were overshadowed yesterday when the team learnt that the former Azzurri captain Giacinto Facchetti had died of cancer at the age of 64.

"I spoke with him on the phone 15 days ago," said an upset Ivano Bordon, part of Roberto Donadini's coaching set-up and the Internazionale goalkeeper in the 1970s when Facchetti captained the club. "I told him when I came back from the national team I would visit."

Facchetti played 94 times for Italy, 70 as captain, and led them to the European Championship title in 1968 and World Cup final in 1970, when they lost to Brazil 4-1. Facchetti served as Internazionale's president for the last two years.

Italy will wear black armbands for the Euro 2008 qualifier in Paris.

"Facchetti's passing is really painful - he was a real man of sport, never hated," the midfielder Gennaro Gattuso said. "He was loved even by opposing fans."