The Catenaccio system was made famous by Argentine trainer Helenio Herrera of Inter Milan in the 1960s who used it to grind out 1–0 wins over opponents in their league games.
Skills and innovations
The key innovation of Catenaccio was the introduction of the role of libero or sweeper, a player positioned behind the line of three defenders. The sweeper's role was to recover loose balls, nullify the opponent's striker and double-mark when necessary.
Another important innovation was the counter-attack, mainly based on long passes from the defence.
In Herrera's version in the 1960s, four man-marking defenders were tightly assigned to each opposing attacker while an extra sweeper would pick up any loose ball that escaped the coverage of the defenders.
During the 70s to the 90s, Catenaccio became almost synonymous with the Italian national team. Italian defenders soon gained notoriety for their man-marking and hard tackling skills, notably Claudio Gentile, Inter legend Giuseppe Bergomi and AC Milan long-time stalwart Franco Baresi.