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Menotti, architect of Argentina's 1978 World Cup win, dies at 85


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Cesar Luis Menotti, who famously coached Argentina to their first World Cup triumph in 1978, an achievement described as one of the "country's greatest joys", has died at the age of 85, the country's football federation (AFA) announced Sunday.

"The Argentine Football Association regrets to report with great sadness the death of Cesar Luis Menotti, former world champion coach of Argentina," the AFA said in a statement.

The chain-smoking Menotti managed 11 clubs, some more than once, and two national teams -- Argentina and Mexico -- in a coaching career that lasted 37 years.

But he will be best remembered for leading Argentina to the 1978 World Cup played on home soil at a time when the country was ruled by a repressive junta.

In the final, Argentina defeated the Netherlands 3-1 after extra-time with flamboyant man of the tournament Mario Kempes scoring twice against a Dutch side shorn of Johan Cruyff, who had refused to play in the World Cup.

Menotti opted not to pick 17-year-old phenomenon Diego Maradona, who had made his international debut the year before.

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