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Józef Kałuża

Personal information
Full nameJózef Ignacy Kałuża
Height1.66 m (5 ft 5.4 in)
Playing positionStriker, Manager

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Józef Ignacy Kałuża (February 11, 1896 in Przemyśl October 11, 1944 in Kraków) was a Polish soccer player and later coach, was one of the legends of Polish sports.

Kałuża was one of the best forward players of 1920s Poland. His whole career was connected with Cracovia - with this team in 1921 he won the first, historic Championships of Poland. Altogether, he played 408 games in Cracovia’s jersey, scoring 465 goals. Also, in the years 1921-1928 Kałuża represented Poland in various international games, scoring 7 goals.

In 1932, after retirement from playing, he became a trainer/manager of the Polish National Team. Directed by him, Poland slowly began to achieve successes on an international scale. In 1936, during Berlin's Olympic Games, the white-red placed 4th (some claim that had Ernest Wilimowski gone to Berlin, the Poles would have won gold). Two years later, during the FIFA World Cup 1938, Poland, after a fierce battle, lost to Brazil 5-6. This legendary game is to this day not only regarded as one of the best in the history of Polish soccer, but also as one of the best in all of World Cup history.

Kałuża's last game as coach took place on Sunday, August 27, 1939 in Warsaw. Poland, after a very good game, beat the then vice-champions of the world, Hungary, 4-2. It was the last game of interwar Poland - on September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and World War II started.

During the war, Kałuża, as one of the few officials of the Polish Football Federation (PZPN), remained in his homeland, where he died in 1944. In 1946, to commemorate him, PZPN begun organizing Józef Kałuża's Cup, but after a few years this idea was given up. Cracovia Kraków’s stadium is located on Kałuża's street.

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