FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio feels the Italy “debacle could’ve been avoided with a little intelligence” from Giampiero Ventura and asked players for advice on the Coach.
The Azzurri lost the World Cup play-off 1-0 on aggregate to Sweden, falling 1-0 in Solna and playing out a goalless draw at San Siro.
“I am tired psychologically of thinking of these last two play-off games. It’s like an obsession, going round and around my mind,” Tavecchio told Le Iene.
“I said that it would be ‘the apocalypse’ if Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup, but I didn’t think we really wouldn’t make it. I consider not going to the World Cup to be extremely serious. It shouldn’t have happened, even with what we had at our disposal, with the focus and the particulars of Club Italia.
“With a little intelligence, this debacle could’ve been avoided. The Swedish players are very tall and strong, so we should’ve approached them with a different philosophy.
“We played badly. Against players who are all nearly 2m tall, we kept putting in crosses. We should’ve gone around them with the little guys. I thought of correcting him. I thought there are 100,000 Neapolitans in Milan, at least 20,000 would be at the stadium, how can you not play Insigne?
“The debacle was technical. The choices made by the Coach were wrong. I have to say it.”
Tavecchio confessed to immense regrets over the entire situation and fought back tears.
“I haven’t slept for four days. The last two games, there was just this complete lack of organisation. It’s not true that there was chaos in the locker room, because those lads were so united, they sat there crying for an hour. They all wanted to win.”
Daniele De Rossi was asked to warm up, but pointed to Lorenzo Insigne and urged Ventura’s staff to introduce the Napoli forward instead.
“I told the staff, I didn’t tell the Coach to use Insigne. I can’t intervene like that, there are rules, you know that. I have never intervened directly to ask for a player or system.”
Tavecchio refuses to shoulder the blame for picking Ventura in the first place as the replacement for Antonio Conte in 2016.
“I chose Ventura as the Italy Coach, but I did it in a moment when that was what we had to choose from. Conte had left, he went to Chelsea…
“The only ones on the market were Ventura, (Gianni) De Biasi and (Vincenzo) Montella. I made the decision also counting on the indications of the most important players. I wasn’t the one making an exclusive decision here.
“When we had this bouquet of options, I went to speak to the players too. I’ll reveal something I’ve never said before: my first choice was (Roberto) Donadoni. Unfortunately, (Bologna President Joey) Saputo was opposed to releasing him, but I knew Donadoni from way back.”