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Saturday October 7 2017
Ventura out of his depth

Italy’s World Cup qualifying campaign may not seem too bad on paper, but it has raised major question marks over their Coach, writes Chloe Beresford.

The tally reads six wins, two draws and one defeat. In a World Cup qualifying group that also contains Spain, some might say that Italy haven’t fared too badly, as they have now secured a play-off berth after La Roja expectedly secured an automatic place into the summer 2018 tournament. The Azzurri probably will eventually qualify, even though it will have taken Coach Giampiero Ventura longer than he would’ve hoped.

But whilst on paper the results haven’t been too bad, the performances have brought about a much greater cause for concern, leading to increasing voices that the veteran boss should be removed before the World Cup begins in Russia.

The last three games have seen a tactically clueless Ventura line-up his side in a 4-2-4 formation against Spain’s famously potent midfield, bringing about an inevitable drubbing and an embarrassing performance from the national side. A 1-0 win over Israel followed, but Friday’s 1-1 draw with Macedonia really was the last straw for many of the fans. He moved to 3-4-3, but they still looked disjointed, uninspired and utterly devoid of ideas.

Team selection is obviously a major issue, with Ventura ignoring the likes of Napoli midfielder Jorginho, a man who he truly could build his side around. It is fair to say that Antonio Conte was criticised for the very same thing at Euro 2016, but at least he was able to galvanise those in his group who were below average, taking them to the quarter-final of the European Championships. He also based the 3-5-2 system on the dominant Juventus squad, whereas the 4-2-4 finds absolutely no reflection in the current Serie A landscape.

All of this brings genuine concern over Ventura’s ability to lead this side into the World Cup, his ineptitude on the international stage ready to be found out by tactically smarter sides and those who genuinely do make the most of the talent they have available.

The players held a crisis meeting in order to review their dismal performance without the Coach present, which may point to the fact he is losing their support. There is no question mark over his wealth of experience at club level and his great work with youngsters at the likes of Torino, but his skills have not transferred well to the Azzurri.

But would firing Ventura at this stage do any good? In all honesty, the prospect of entering a tournament with the 69-year-old at the helm at this moment in time is a frightening one. The qualifying campaign has told us all we need to know about a man who is out of his depth and not the right choice in taking Italy forward with all the talent they so clearly possess.

It all depends on who they could bring in instead, as the instability from a change of CT could be very unsettling for the squad. But if the FIGC could find someone who could immediately come in and make positive changes, it may bring about the necessary swift turnaround they so desperately need. 

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
@anonymous is my name!
dear friend!
Buffon is one of the reason's 'why we are still in the competition also why Juve made it to CL final!
if it wasn't because of his effort for gathering NATIONALE squad in changing room probably we would have lost to Albania today as well!
approaching 40 he is still better than many goalies including neuer/dega/hart... that's why he won golden
glove for cl in 2017!
he is frustrated with Ventura and feel's not getting enough support from bbc either!
viva Buffon!
on the 10th October, 2017 at 6:15am
..2/2 A manager who agrees to Buffon and co holding a meeting with the younger players to teach them about what is 'needed' when olaying for Italy is utterly ridiculous. If i was one of the youngsters in that meeting I'd have pointed out that Buffon and co were also playing against macadonia n all the poor games and that our exit of Euro'16 was much to do with poor GKing in the shootout Had Buffon actually saved a penalty we wouldnt have got as far as Pelle or Zazas joke penalties.
on the 10th October, 2017 at 5:36am
@Jenks
Totally agree with all you've said.
Look at all the time wasted through this qualification where Perin, D.rumma or anyone could have gained the much needed experience needed for world cup instead we left this egotistic relic between the sticks. Barzagli also has to go, De Rossi I think should step aside (not that we need midfielders with 424) but i would keep Bonucci but he needs to know his place.
Ventura has to go no questions... 1/2
on the 10th October, 2017 at 5:24am
@ Jenks
" We are still Italy and we can find a set up that will work in mid-field."

WE DON'T HAVE A MIDFIELD!!!!

Ventura doesn't believe we need one because he has the onsite dementia.

Italy needs to get rid of all the FIGC staff starting from sTrAVECCHIO all the way down to sVENTURA there's no place in modern football for clueless incompetent dinosaurs with dementia.
on the 10th October, 2017 at 1:29am
Don't panic we will qualify.
on the 9th October, 2017 at 11:37pm
'Anonymous is my name', you wonder why the prehistoric dinosaur Buffon is still there. There are some on this board that actually want him in Russia, can you believe it.

One thing of this Buffon is that he lacks humility for his skill and experience. Move on already, or you're gonna hurt the squad. He's too proud to leave even if it stops the younger keepers from gaining time in big games.

Give him his medals and shirt, and send him packing home along with Barzagli, De Rossi, and Bonucci.
on the 9th October, 2017 at 4:47pm
Ventura needs to go now that is most clear. However, this Italy revolution should have taken place already after WC group stage exits in 2010 and 2014. The FIGC do not care plain and simple. There is nobody watching over them, cause Italy as a nation have so many economic, social and political issues that calcio has taken a back seat. But, I do hope there is a level of reform and the entire FIGC is fired and replaced by Italy's soccer minds that have the skill, talent and drive to lead Italy.
on the 9th October, 2017 at 4:13pm
I WHOLESOME AGREE WITH @ANONYMOUS IS MY NAME on the issue of BUFFON... he's getting there if not ALREADY there with age being the issue, Whereas he can help the squad by being selfless and putting the team 1st and not himself {I'M NOT KNOCKING ON BUFFON FOLKS}, He would be a great 2nd shotstopper in both team and national level. JUST SAYIN!!!!!
on the 9th October, 2017 at 3:36pm
What's with the Jorginho mania? Yes, he is excellent. But why should we take him (if we qualify)?

Stop treating this Jorginho as some sort of Albertini or Pirlo type play-maker. Enough. We are still Italy and we can find a set up that will work in mid-field. We must also be principled in our setup.

Brazil are interested in this kid and will probably call him up. Good. He is Brazilian, let it go. They can have him.

Do you want others to say "Look, Italy need a Brazilian in midfield!"
on the 9th October, 2017 at 3:31pm
I agree with Carletto. It is NOT too late. It is NOT too late to appoint Ancelotti and get rid of poor Ventura.

There are people on this board who seem to think we didn't do well because we had Verratti, Marchisio, De Rossi and El Sha out due to problems. Are you joking?!
This was Macedonia last week, not Germany!

Perhaps it will be better to lose today to Albania. We always have to learn the hard way and suffer, poor Italians.

I thought it could not get worse than Prandelli, but it has.
on the 9th October, 2017 at 3:23pm
He needs to go ASAP. He insists on 424 when no Italian club plays this sytem. Is he thick or pretends to be thick? We need to win against Albania and he insists on this formation. Just does not make sense. We need Ancellotti ASAP who has the respect and is also liked. Personally, I do not think Ventura is liked by the players. I hope we win but I must be honest, I am very worried indeed. I hate when he looks at the ground shaking his head and not coaching. Absolutely crazy!
on the 9th October, 2017 at 12:12pm
I agree that Ancelotti would be a great choice to take over the Azzurri and a huge upgrade on the hopeless Ventura but he's never going to take the job before the play-offs, even in the unlikely event that it was offered to him. What Manager in their right mind would take over a team before the play-offs knowing that they might lose and not qualify for the WC. They would then be lumbered with a team that won't play any competitive matches until Euro 2020 qualifying! Not gonna happen.
on the 9th October, 2017 at 9:46am
Absolutely clueless, I'm affraid we won't get out of the play-offs playing like this
Will not play to Italy's strengths, 4-2-4 that tells you immediately we will be over-run in midfield, we tonight against Albania am worried we will loose, our resent strength has been 5 in the middle. but ego won't change him in-case hes classed similar to Conte's system
on the 9th October, 2017 at 9:32am
I really don't get why Italian football is full of people unsuitable for their roles ventura should really have stayed on as a club coach. more than that the real issue for me is Tavecchio is frankly embarrassing to see someone like him head the Italian football federation. I just don't get why someone with practically no experience in football is allowed to run the fa. At least the likes of matarrese owned a football club or Pancalli was a actual athlete.
on the 9th October, 2017 at 8:33am
Can someone shed some light as to why Buffon is still playing?? We have a clueless manager who is totally to blame for this terrible state we are in but Buffon is also a massive problem in the team. Some of the goals he lets in are simply school boy standard. We seem to be playing him to beat Cannavaro' record, why? Just leave him at home. He sits like an ambassador and was probably the instigator for the meeting the players had without Ventura! It's a joke and things only Italy seem to do!
on the 9th October, 2017 at 6:02am
This is 2017 not 1917...Mr sVentura please explain how 2 Azzurri midfielders are expected to compete with teams like Spain who use up to 6 talented ball playing mids???????
What the hell are you thinking?
Conte was able to coach what most would consider an inferior group of players to compete and defeat some of the best teams in Europe...Ventura can't even get it right to defeat Macedonia at home lol!!!
on the 9th October, 2017 at 5:30am
Sack him now, give the job to ancelotti and say "do what you can?" Otherwise we're stuffed, and Buffon in his final campaign deserves better than that.
on the 9th October, 2017 at 2:38am
On the other hand Italy with so much legacy is being turned into a laughing stock by Ventura and the Bosses at FIGC are sleeping, not acting while still there is time or perhaps waiting for worse before acting.
on the 9th October, 2017 at 2:01am
Stark contrast in situations pertaining to Claudio Ranieri & Giampiero Ventura. Leicester who have been a bottom half Premier League Club over past many years whenever they've managed to stay up in the top flight ... after winning the PL after 65-70 years under the coaching of Ranieri sack him the followin season as they r close to relegation position but with still significant number of matches left as well as when alive in Champions League. What pride and expectation from the bosses.(contd)
on the 9th October, 2017 at 1:59am
The Azzurri are a bunch of headless chickens atm with no direction coached by a dinosaur with dementia and backed 100% all the way by sTravecchio the clueless, idiotic and corrupt head of FIGC...seriously what hope do we have?

There are some decent coaches available like Guidolin and Ancelotti but Ventura will remain to the bitter end with his 4-2-4 against Albania AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
on the 8th October, 2017 at 10:38pm
SOMETIMES WE GOTTA LOOK IN OUR ROLODEX AND LOOK AT WHAT WE GOT THAT WASN'T GIVEN A SHOT IN LEGA PRO OR SERIA B COACHES...AND Also ON A FOOTNOTE [Lippi's lookin for work...
on the 8th October, 2017 at 9:04pm
TO ADD TO THAT NOTE,A Coach must be chosen that will "NOT"answer to the higher up's {FIG C} PREFERABLY,AND will march to the beat of his own drum and enforce his ideas and know how in this matter."REMEMBER CONTE ANYONE"..IN A NUTSHELL TO BE UNCORRUPTED and affirmative with ideas and know how.we have great coaches in LEGA PRO THAT ARE MORE MILITANT AND DEMANDING IN COACHING BUT THAT DUE OR DIE MENTALITY IS WHERE THEY PREACH FROM THAT LEVEL.THEY DON'T BOW TO STAR PLAYERS OR ARE IN AWE OF THEM.
on the 8th October, 2017 at 8:57pm
My worries are if we get an emergency interim coach in there probably italian...Hence probably ties to Tavecchio and cohorts,Sometimes we must think outside of the box and look outward maybe in the realms of a foreign Coach with international experience and title winning mentality.It could be a coach in the B league's or in the european circa of club coaches looking for national team employment. DON'T SHOOT ME DOWN FOLKS ITS JUST AN OUT OF THE BOX SUGGESTION DUE TO LIMITED COACHES AVALIABLE....
on the 8th October, 2017 at 8:44pm
This is the managers final chance to prove his critics wrong.
Before the spain game italy looked fairly solid but maybe spain showed how bad ventura is i think if albania game is a draw then figc must fire ventura get a match winner for the play offs (ancelotti) hes our only chance against portugal/croazia
on the 8th October, 2017 at 8:32pm
Buffon admits what Italians still don't want to believe: “Football has improved everywhere and there are no easy games, although we keep saying that without really believing it. You do meet teams that are well-prepared physically, tactically and technically." Italy have remained dormant in evolving their style and tactics while other countries have not messed around and moved forward in developing young players and systems. He would serve his nation better as a coach than still playing at his age.
on the 8th October, 2017 at 8:31pm
When will people finally realise that Serie A is dead! It’s has been since we last won the World Cup in 2006. Ok we have reached euro 2012 final but the rest of the nations where very weak minus Spain compared to today. With the Nazionale in crisis it just shows the league is weak and dead it really hurts me to say this. It’s time now we followed the German route and start again and build for world up 2022 let’s forget next summer and Euro 2020 the players are not good enough!
on the 8th October, 2017 at 6:07pm
If we are seeded then we still have a great chance to qualify but this won't be enough to paint over the cracks. We need Ancelotti to fill in now. I would give him an ultimatum and tell him if he doesn't take on the Italy job now he never will. If he can't step in during our hour of desperate need then he should never be considered in the future. It's a gun to his head but we Italians know what that feels like!
on the 8th October, 2017 at 5:39pm
@Baggio-4-ever, Germany hit the reset button after having a dismal Euro 2000. We have had two appalling World Cups in a row. Surely if we were going to have a revolution, it would have been enacted by now? I don't believe that failure to qualify for the WC would spur the FIGC to take action. They are too backward & inefficient. Irrespective of how bad we are, I want us to be at the WC. It would be horrible looking on from the outside next summer.
on the 8th October, 2017 at 5:33pm
I think the best scenario is for Italy to miss this worldcup. My reason is as follows....The uproar and pandemonium will send Talvecio and Ventura home and maybe, just maybe start a revolution not only with the National team but all with the league.....
on the 8th October, 2017 at 3:34pm
I'm afraid that it will take a catastrophe like being eliminated early from the WC in order to force a change in the FIGC. Ventura is a terrible choice for coach, and Tevecchio is inept and clueless. I am heartsick that our great history in world football has been put in the hands of these two old, doddering men. Wake up Italians and demand the best qualified for leadership roles, not the best "connected".
on the 8th October, 2017 at 3:12pm

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