Wednesday August 9 2017
Ventura: 'Italy will be protagonists'

Giampiero Ventura is confident Italy “will be protagonists at the World Cup and among the favourites for the Euros" after officially signing a new contract.

The CT put pen to paper today on a deal to keep him on the Azzurri bench until July 2020.

“I see it as a sign we share the same ideas as when we started nine months ago, more than consider it motivation to go forward,” Ventura told reporters.

“This contract isn’t so much about what we’ve done so far, but more what we intend to do together. We started the generational and cultural revolution.

“Our three objectives now are to qualify for the World Cup, be the surprise outfit at the World Cup and be one of the favourites for the Euros.”

The decision was made just weeks before the decisive qualifier against joint group leaders Spain on September 2.

“There was no need for the renewal in order to go forward together. It won’t make any difference to the match with Spain, but it might help build the confidence we are on the right track.

“We ended up in the same group as Spain, who are I think the most difficult team to face. If we are joint top of the group with Spain, it means we have done well. We can use the word ‘planning’ and mean it.

“We’ll give it our best on Spanish soil, but if we don’t do it, then evidently we’ll have to go through a play-off.

“The real problem is getting to the World Cup, but if we do reach the tournament, we will be protagonists, I’m sure of it.

“Going to the World Cup is one thing, but achieving it with a squad that has an average age of 25 means we’ve done something extraordinary. We must be ready when the time comes to replace players like Gigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini, who can still give a notable contribution at the World Cup, but for the Euros in 2020 it seems difficult.”

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