TRIBUTES poured in yesterday after the announcement that Helmut Schoen, the man who guided West Germany to a World Cup triumph in 1974, died late on Thursday night at the age of 80 at a nursing home in Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt.

Schoen, who was also the mastermind behind the team that lost to England in the 1966 World Cup final and plotted a European Championship triumph in 1972, had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

One of the first to pay tribute was Germany coach Berti Vogts, who regarded Schoen as ``the most successful trainer ever''.

Vogts, who played under Schoen, added: ``He was a man who only saw the good in players and in people in general. He did an unbelievable amount for the players.''

Known as ``the man with the cap'', Schoen was coach of the national team from 1964 to 1978.

He was born in Dresden and at a young age was playing football in the streets of the eastern German town despite the protests of his father, an art dealer, who had little time for a game he regarded as working class.

He played with various Dresden sides until 1950 before finishing his playing career with Hertha Berlin.

Schoen earned 16 caps as a player during an international career that began in 1937 and ended four years later, scoring 17 goals.

He took up coaching in 1945 and four years later he became trainer of a select side of players from Germany's Soviet-occupied eastern zone, later to become East Germany.

Schoen fled to the West in 1950 and after spells at several clubs he was appointed assistant to national coach Sepp Herberger in 1956.

After serving an eight-year apprenticeship at the side of his mentor he took over from Herberger.

The climax of his career was undoubtedly West Germany's 2-1 victory over Holland in the 1974 World Cup final in Munich. His overall record in charge of the national team was highly impressive: 87 victories, 31 draws, and just 21 defeats.