Former France goalkeeper Colonna dies aged 95
September 12, 2023 08:08 PM
Dominique Colonna, one of the last surviving members of the France squad that reached the semi-finals of the 1958 World Cup, has died aged 95, his former club Reims announced on Tuesday.
Colonna won 13 caps for France, making his debut against Iceland in 1957 and his final appearance against Spain four years later.
In the middle of that span he travelled to Sweden with a France team that boasted the legendary Just Fontaine who scored 13 goals, still a record for a single World Cup tournament.
Colonna, however, who was unusually short for a goalkeeper at 1.72metres (five foot, six inches) did not play a single game at the tournament as Claude Abbes was first choice.
With Colonna's death, Robert Mouynet and Bernard Chiarelli remain the only living members of that squad.
Born in 1928, Colonna grew up in Corte in Corsica before joining Nice on the French mainland and played six seasons at Reims between 1957-1963, winning the French top flight three times.
He was also between the posts for Reims during their 2-0 European Cup final defeat to Real Madrid back in 1959, saving a penalty from Real legend Alfredo di Stefano.
"He was as intrepid on the pitch as he was charming and witty off it," Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot said.
"He made up for his modest height with his astonishing reflexes and his nerves of steel, in a way he inspired the following generations," he said.
After hanging up his own boots he became the first coach of newly-independent Cameroon in 1963.