Friday October 6 2017
Ventura must take the blame

Italy unveiled a new badge and kit against Macedonia, but Adam Digby saw the same old Coach and uninspired performance.

A draw. With Macedonia. At home. If ever a result summed up Italy during Giampiero Ventura’s tenure, it was this: the Azzurri held to a disappointing 1-1 stalemate by a team they should have brushed aside comfortably. The performance was every bit as uninspiring as the final score would indicate, and the 69-year-old can expect to be completely lambasted by the national and international media alike in the coming days.

Of course, there were mitigating circumstances, most notably an injury list which included midfielders Claudio Marchisio, Daniele De Rossi, Marco Verratti and Lorenzo Pellegrini, not to mention first choice striker Andrea Belotti. Yet, at the risk of it being understated, this was a match Italy could – and most definitely should – still have won.

Those who did take to the field must also accept their share of criticism. Giorgio Chiellini scored one goal and prevented an almost certain equaliser in the opening 45 minutes, but it was the Juventus man’s initial failure to intervene that allowed Palermo winger Aleksandar Trajkovski to find the back of the net. Alongside him, Leonardo Bonucci carried his poor domestic form with him in another error-strewn display, nowhere near the imperious and unbeatable stopper he was until recently.

Yet the one most culpable is unquestionably Ventura. The same man who lined up the Azzurri in a suicidal 4-2-4 formation in Spain last month inexplicably opted to field seven defence-minded players against a team who sat second-bottom of Group G. It's an approach no winner coupon code could predict.

For all the talk of a tactical shift, Italy still looked devoid of ideas or attacking impetus, instead showcasing just how limited a side the Coach had selected. This was a game that cried out for names such as Federico Chiesa, Domenico Berardi or Alessandro Florenzi - energetic, inventive players who could run roughshod over a weaker opponent. Federico Bernardeschi was given less than half an hour to make an impression, while the bench was filled with the likes of Eder and Manolo Gabbiadini.

Meanwhile, Jorginho – who is once again averaging more passes per game than any other player in Europe – instead sat at home watching on TV, as Marco Parolo and Roberto Gagliardini featured in midfield. Even the in-form talents who did receive a call-up were left kicking their heels, Leonardo Spinazzola and Nicolò Barella remaining unused substitutes as the clock wound down.

There have been plenty of warnings, the Azzurri looking disjointed and unsure in almost every match under Ventura’s leadership, but he has remained paralysed by fear, looking more and more out of his depth as qualifying wore on until this most unacceptable of results.

Shortly after the final whistle he bemoaned a “lack of fitness levels” among his players, a startling excuse for a display undoubtedly affected by the squad and team he and he alone selected. Ventura cannot complain that players aren’t getting regular time at their clubs when ignoring those in better form. Those same men will return to Napoli, Juventus, Milan and elsewhere next week, starring in Champions League and Serie A action alike.

Make no mistake, if anyone looked unfit to fulfil their duties on Friday evening it was Giampiero Ventura, the Commissario Tecnico failing to inspire, improve or organise the Azzurri once again.

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Have your say...
@Anonymous is my name
Thanks for sharing your insecurities. Question for you:

When has Jorginho pursued Brazil?

Jorginho represented Italy's U21, stated his desire to play for Italy and not Brazil several times, and was called up by Conte in 2016. He got his citizenship because his family is of Italian decent, not because he plays soccer in Italy (though I suppose that didn't hurt his chances).

Italy has recognized him as a citizen. What will it take for you to do the same?
on the 14th October, 2017 at 10:46pm
Jorgihno was overlooked by Brazil so he decided he would play for Italy he has been overlooked by us so he then states he'll play for them, he has put himself in a tug or war but both nations dont seem that bothered.
Balotelli stated he IS italian his entire playing Career HE turned down Ghana for Italy thats a massive diffrence compared players not good enough for a nation they hold in their heart to a nation that has saved you and you genuinly love.
We should be 2nd to no 1!
on the 9th October, 2017 at 10:29am
It really is a sad state of affairs that foreign players are playing for the Italian national side because they couldn't get into their national teams. Saying that it is becoming the norm virtually every European national side has one or two players who originated and grew up in another country. It is only going to become more acute in the coming years frankly sticking to a home grown team Italy will be left behind.
on the 9th October, 2017 at 10:22am
Players like jorgihno didnt immigrate to italy for anything other than club football they are brought by clubs, they are not those sat on boats floating into italy.
Footballers earn 60k+ per week so dont think for a sec they will be italian once their career is over.
A fact that the 'french' seem to overlook is Desailly would rather watch Ghana and Zidane would rather watch Algeria and wave algerian flags around, so they are french when i suits them.. 1/2
on the 9th October, 2017 at 10:20am
I don't get it - foreign nationals chose to immigrate to Italy and decided they love it enough to represent them rather than their country of birth. What do they get in return? Cast aside by what seems like a third of the fan-base on here. That must hurt.

What's ironic is this thread is in English. How many of you are dual-nationals, are not legally Italian, or are not currently living in Italy? Double standard much?
on the 9th October, 2017 at 3:36am
my love for the Azzurri has broken my heart a few times for all the right reasons.
they are now at it again for all the wrong reasons .... we need a real manager !
on the 8th October, 2017 at 11:47pm
@Baggio forever - Infantino is Swiss not Italian.
on the 8th October, 2017 at 8:39pm
@anonymous calling for Italy to follow France.... NO thanks. 'France' were the first African nation to reach the Euro finals, in their whole team they had 5 actual french players! I recall watching Desailly on the BBC reporting on Ghana all I heard in his interviews from him was "we in ghana..." and "we are the best african nation" which is great BUT apparently in 90s he was french?
Spain seem to have moved forward by keeping their team spanish so i think Italy should do the same.
on the 8th October, 2017 at 10:47am
once everyone is fit I have long felt that Italy should play a 4-3-3


de rossi----------------marchisio----------verratti


then you got guys like candreva who can also play where bernadeshi is. some1 like berardi would do well around the Italian setup. he is being baby-ied at sassuollo.
on the 8th October, 2017 at 10:18am
Please stop calling for Balo.....unless of course he's there to clean boots! Immobile is doing a great job for Lazio and scoring goals. Eder is another joke. Jorginho cannot play for Brazil as he has already played for Italy! What Italy needs is a manager who can plays players to their strengths as a team. News Flash 4-2-4 DOES NOT WORK! Italy will draw or lose with Albania. Unless we get the worst team in the draw Italy will not go to the WC and even then we will be lucky.
on the 8th October, 2017 at 9:42am
Jorgihno publically stated italy after he was over looked by Brazil. About the only thing i have ever praised Balotelli for is that he choose italy before he even had an italian passport. So no room for jorgihno. On to Balotelli, the guys unstable plain and simple as i said dispite his goals the Nice couch has the same problems every other manager has. Balotelli scored that 1 great goal against Germany in 2012- he then went 2 whole seasons only scoring 4 goals in top leagues!
on the 8th October, 2017 at 8:19am
Belotti Balotelli (last chance)

Marchisio. Veratti. Florenzi

Spinazzola. Chiellini bonucci Zappacosta


Rugani, romanogli, Darmain, DeScglio, Candreva, Jorgingho, DeRossi, Bernadeschi, Gabbadini , Giovinco

Conti in place of Darmain or DeScglio is fine also. They are a bit more versatile.
on the 8th October, 2017 at 12:48am
Anonymous king moreover Jorginho will be called up to Brazil. The reason he hasn't yet is because he publicly stated so and wanted to wear the blue of Italy. If Italy dont call him up he will be in the Brazil squad for the WC18. He is a sensational player so why not have him playing. Ozul is Turkish. Khediera Tunisian right. Germany know how to get foreign nationals and nationals playing and they have one of the best youth dev systems in the world. So do France and watch what France do next year
on the 7th October, 2017 at 11:36pm
Anonymous king who is the most inform 'proven' italian goalscorer outside of Belotti. Immobile!? Eder?! Inglese?! Cristante?! Please they are a joke! It's balotelli. It wasn't the french league he was playing when he smashed us into the euro 2012 final against a great German side was it. 24 goals in 37 games. This season 7/9. None of that current italy squad a big game match winners outside the bright Belotti. our WC18 will be with that mug Ventura will be poor if we get there.
on the 7th October, 2017 at 11:30pm
Would anyone in there right mind play a 4-2-4 against Spain, Germany, Brazil, France? So why do we waist time with it? Do any of the midfielders play this formation for their respective teams? So how do you expect them to excel? Such a formation requires elite players who know exactly what to do. It works in children's soccer games because the opposition at that age does not know how to pass properly or hold formations. Does Ventura think that Germany or Spain are at this level of play?
on the 7th October, 2017 at 11:24pm
Italy does not need foreign nationals, balotelli is finished, Eder is useless, diawara proved his worth when he cost Napoli the CL games with real along with others. We have plenty talent at home. Again the problem is tavecchio and figc. Italians have something everyone else does not have heart. But when you have antiquated variables in coach and players it's basically walking off a cliff. They need to adjust squad reinsert a few more better players and do what Italy does best grind it out.
on the 7th October, 2017 at 10:55pm
"NEWS FLASH" THIS IS A WORLD 1ST...{THE ALBANIA GAME, VENTURA IS GOING TO FIELD A 424 FORMATION DUE TO,Barzagli has an injury SO no more 343...BUT Eder and Immobile will play together up front{I feel safe already HAHA!!}2ND...Cristante will get the NOD to play ahead of Gagliardini {Please Kill me NOW!!}...FAREWELL AND ADIEU YOU FAIR SPANISH LADIES...Quint's song folks!!!!!hope I'm wrong.
on the 7th October, 2017 at 10:32pm
@anonymous and baggio 4..
Balo is problems. Dont be fooled by these goals he has scored remember he is in france hardly competitive and not exactly best known for defencsive qualities. The Nice manager continues to moan about Balotelli so it is the same story, hes finished with italy get over it. Jorgihno is brazilian if he was any good they'd have him so lets not make rejects Italian please!
Baggio is the dream we all wish we had believe me but with the state of Serie A a baggio is a dream
on the 7th October, 2017 at 10:27pm
@Baggio-4-Ever Thanks fratello! In my rant of paragraphs I had to say 'imagine' Balo and Belo upfront with Insigne playing in behind. It shouldnt be an 'imagine' but a reality! You are right there! FIGC is backwards and I agree with you too. What is Ventura's problem with Balo and Jorgy anyways?! maybe because one is African and the other Brazilian. I cant stand him! typical old fashioned Italian. PS Roby Baggio was my hero back in the day. Wish we had him again!
on the 7th October, 2017 at 9:49pm
But then you have the FIFA president Infantino who needs his beloved Italy in the WC and will do anything to see its way to Italy qualifying,
on the 7th October, 2017 at 9:41pm
Tavecchio is ancient and needs to go..Albertini shoulda taken over a long time ago..We as a national team and a world soccer powerhouse should not be making these inexplicable displays of mediocrity and pure failure plus sheer stupidity.CUT THE STRINGS {FIG-C} WHILE WE STILL CAN because we just lucked out AGAIN AS USUAL BY BOSNIA LOSING TO BELGIUM WHICH PUTS US AUTOMATICALLY IN THE PLAYOFFS.I Really hate it when we rely on other NATIONS to lose so we can advance.FORZA! azzurri I guess.
on the 7th October, 2017 at 9:39pm
The probable line-up for Italy against Albania features 6 players who are aged 30 or over. So much for Ventura’s ‘Youth Revolution’!

And some of those in the starting 11, haven’t even been impressive for their respective club teams this year. Eder, for example, hasn’t even scored one goal this season! He’s not even been playing that regularly for Inter, only playing a total of 82 minutes.

I just can’t understand Ventura’s logic, nor his squad and tactic selections. It’s obvious I’m not alone.
on the 7th October, 2017 at 9:30pm
WTF when is Immobile a starter for cryin out loud, what's with this fixation with this incompetent player.
on the 7th October, 2017 at 9:28pm
Why Ventura is not calling up Jorginho is beyond words I mean whatever...THIS GUY HAS GOTTA GO PLAIN AND SIMPLE.
on the 7th October, 2017 at 9:23pm
When you mess up a Rhythmic flow of a National team that's trying to find it's identity and was doing well so far,and pulling off certain changes to an effect squad,HINT! HINT!ANYONE SPAIN GAME AAARGHHH!!!WHAT THE HELL VENTURA[In other words 424 formation in 2 games ISRAEL BY A HAIRLINE.}And "VOILA"!!! THERE YA HAVE IT FOLKS COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE..VENTURA HAS GOTTA "GO" FOLKS PLAIN AND SIMPLE.THE writings on the wall for everyone to see.A big thanks to Bosnia losing I guess,"Sigh! were in.
on the 7th October, 2017 at 9:21pm
Anonymous - totally agree with you. I'm sorry to say that its going to take a whole lot of media/journal bashing after an exit from this world cup for them to come to terms with there dire and pathetic situation....It is what it is and we're going to have to live with it.....We need a Telavecio and Ventura exit in order to change Italian football because it seems its headed for Abyss......
on the 7th October, 2017 at 9:19pm
on the 7th October, 2017 at 9:19pm
Imagine Belotti and Balotelli upfront with Insigne supporting and Curtone and Kean on the bench for example. That would be world beating. A midfield with Diawara, Chiesa, Bonaventura, De Rossi, Marchisio, Jorginho, Bernadeschi, Florenzi, Verrati et all and not to mention our great GKs/backline options too! WAKE UP THE FIGC!!!!
on the 7th October, 2017 at 9:03pm
Get M. Kean, E. Palmieiri, Adjepong, Diawara, Chiesa, Conti, Romagnoli, Cutrone and many others integrated into the italian team asap along with Balo, Jorghinho, Rugani, and the last remaining old guard/Injured stars and we would fly! Ventura buddy you are a mug! Foreign origin or not. Look at France and Germany. Half of both teams for years now have had Turks and many Africans from 18/19/20 years of age playing for ages. Modernise and progress or fall behind Italy. End of.
on the 7th October, 2017 at 8:49pm
Just saw the formation for Albanina! haha! REALLY. My god! here we go again. Even if we win 4-0 It is still a joke! Italy (probable): Buffon; Zappacosta, Bonucci, Chiellini, Darmian; Cristante, Parolo; Candreva, Immobile, Eder, Insigne Is anyone in the right mind telling me that Balotelli and Jorginho should not be ahead of that absolute rubbish above! Eder? Parollo? Candreva? Cristante!? Even with injuries aside this is a sorry state for Italy. Get M. Kean, E. Palmieiri, Adjepong, Diawara...
on the 7th October, 2017 at 8:41pm

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