(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AP
ZAGREB, Croatia: Miroslav 'Ciro” Blazevic, who coached the Croatian national soccer team to the semifinals of the 1998 World Cup in France, has died. He was 87.
His family and friends said Blazevic died at a Zagreb hospital on Wednesday after a long battle with prostate cancer.
The 'coach of all coaches,” as he was known in his home country of Croatia, led four national teams and several domestic and foreign clubs during his career.
His successful coaching career started in the 1960s, in the same place where his playing days ended - at Swiss club Vevey.
Blazevic also led the national teams of Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Switzerland. Among the clubs he coached were Dinamo Zagreb, Nantes, Grasshopper Zurich, Sion, Shanghai Shenhua, PAOK Thessaloniki and Hajduk Split.
The pinnacle of his coaching career came at the 1998 World Cup in France when Croatia finished in third place.
'The whole country was proud, but I was sad,” Blazevic said recently about the 1998 success. 'If I had the experience I have now, we would have been the world champions.”
He was to celebrate his 88th birthday on Thursday.
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