Friday November 10 2017
Ventura ignoring Italy advice

A balanced 4-3-3 formation would be the right choice for Italy against Sweden, says Vilizar Yakimov, but Giampiero Ventura isn’t listening.

Italy’s last qualifier for the World Cup in Russia finished in a narrow 1-0 victory against Albania away from home, which sums up the Azzurri’s whole campaign. Despite securing a comfortable second place finish behind a superb Spanish team, Giampiero Ventura’s side looked sloppy and unconvincing in almost all of their games. The tactician deservedly took the major share of the criticism, as his constant changing of system and tactics meant that Italy struggled against clearly inferior opponents like Albania, Macedonia and Israel and got absolutely hammered 3-0 in Madrid.

The tactician deservedly has plenty of doubters, as his decisions handicapped his side more than once during the qualifying campaign. Ventura finally showed he is willing to leave behind the improbable 4-2-4 system in the World Cup play-offs with Sweden, but is the 3-5-2 really any improvement?

While the 4-3-3 formation would allow Ventura to play most of his creative players, the 3-5-2 module will give him some guarantees at the back and in the middle of the pitch, which means that the team might lack something upfront. Considering that Italy must score at least one goal, 4-3-3 seems the more logical choice, as probably the team’s most in-form players are best suited for this set-up.

Gigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini were always going to be guaranteed starters. Based on current form, Daniele Rugani perhaps deserved a nod more than Leonardo Bonucci or Andrea Barzagli, but experience is vital at this level and with three at the back, the BBC reunion is inevitable. Matteo Darmian was already the favourite on the left wing even before Leonardo Spinazzola’s injury ruled him out entirely.

The current Swedish team lacks the individual talent that the Tre Kronor’s sides of the past possessed, so the outcome of the game will most likely be decided in the middle of the pitch where a so far underperforming Marco Verratti’s ball-playing ability will be crucial. The PSG man should take the responsibility and pull the strings in the middle of the park with experienced fighters like Marco Parolo and Daniele De Rossi shielding him.

Lorenzo Insigne is another player who has been superb for his club for years, but due to various reasons he never gets the chance to play in a similar role for the Nazionale. The 26-year-old winger can become one of the key figures in this Italy team, if given the chance. The trip to Sweden would’ve been the perfect opportunity for him, yet the Napoli starlet will probably be on the bench.

On the right the most logical choice seems Antonio Candreva, as the Inter man has been in fine form since the start of the season and has proved to be one of the most consistent players in recent months.

Ventura’s choice for a centre-forward will be of huge importance and it would’ve seem a pretty straight-forward one if Andrea Belotti was in peak physical condition. Il Gallo’s strength and pure tenacity would be perfect for the game considering Sweden’s physicality at the back. However, the Torino man’s injury concerns and Ciro Immobile’s physical issues, Ventura’s choice becomes much harder.

Simone Zaza was tipped to start his first Italy game in over a year, but the Valencia man’s bad luck never seems to be out of fashion and he’s ruled out for the first leg. With the other options being Eder – who scored against Sweden at Euro 2016 – and Manolo Gabbiadini, both benchwarmers at their current clubs, a half-fit Belotti will have to do.

Regardless of the starting XI that Ventura is going to pick, more than one member of the current Italian team have a point to prove, so a balanced 4-3-3 formation would allow the Azzurri to display their clear superiority over the Sweden. Unfortunately, the Coach is once again ignoring public opinion.

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

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with

Have your say...
What exactly does Parolo do out there, besides complain.... Candreva seeems disinterested.. defense too old, goalie god bless him too old, yesterday they showed no energy at all. Eder should be eating a hotdog in the stands. Why these Italian young players leave Italy to play elsewhere is beyond me. They are so underutilized! Giovinco is not good enough for this team?? THIS IS AN ITALIAN FEDERATION DISASTER!! FIRE THEM ALL!!
on the 11th November, 2017 at 2:33pm
The Azzurri have been in decline after 2006 World Cup. The fault lyes directly in the lap of the FIGC? Inconsistant selection of coaches, and the coaches who are talented do not want the job for obvious reasons. We have the coaching talent and develop the players At the youth level. Until the FIGC is reorged and a plan is created to rebuild football at the grassroots level, we will go down in history like the Netherlands.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 2:06pm
As a Canadian with Italian origins, I am VERY passionate about this sport. The team I saw play Sweden is an embarrassment to me, to my heritage and to calico in Italy as a whole. They have plenty of talent either on the pitch or on the benches however the leadership and the philosophy of today's Italian teams in general are dated. Couple this with the totally embarrassing theatrics and what you have is a gathering of misled individuals that are displacing talent with theatrics. Disgraceful!
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:48pm
The way we played last night reminded me of my school football team in the 90's -- tactically clueless, no shape and just a bunch of players aimlessly wandering around waiting for something to happen.

I'm still looking forward to Monday though, and I hope the atmosphere of the San Siro will lift the players to excel -- but the lads will have to figure out a plan all on their own. We're not just playing against Sweden, we're also playing against Ventura's incompetence.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 11:00am
For years we Italian football fans have mocked England fans for the inability of their players to replicate their club form in national colours. Now it seems that we have the same problem, thanks in no small part to Ventura completely isolating and bewildering both the players and the fans with his baffling choices. It's like being stuck in a canoe boat with people trying to row in opposite directions. Ventura is trying to ferry us into the abyss and if that's the plan, he's succeeding.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 10:56am
Ventura is a DISASTER! He completely fail at BARI, also at TORINO and now @ the national team. He's delusional! He said he's thinking of the group stages next summer? He gonna be looking for a job very soon that's if he can find one. This is embarrassing ! This team has no style of play, were better off sticking Inter/ Napoli against Sweden.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 7:41am
And Conte did it without Insigne, who should never see the field IMO, these nights are 4 men, not kids to show off their entire collection of 1 trick and a fancy haircut. And where the heck is Florenzi 4 a hapless Candreva? and where is Zapacosta? Sick and tired of overhyped dumb players. Finally, why are Italian teams getting the toughest of draws? Italy/Spain, Italy/Croatia, Roma/Porto, Napoli/Nice, Lazio/Gladbach, and you see other groups topped by Serbia, Poland Iceland & Poland.. & England.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 2:38am
De Rossi, Eder, Parolo, Candreva, and Immobile need to get the boot from this team. Ventura and Di Biagio need to go, as do Tevecchio and the rest of his clan at the FIGC. Awful formation, awful team selection, and awful tactics. Also why do guys like Candreva, De Rossi and Parolo keep getting automatic starts over in form league players like Politano, Cristante? Why is Gagliardini sitting on the bench with Insigne in a huge match like this?, why was Pharoah and Spinazzola in the stands?
on the 11th November, 2017 at 2:29am
Agree with Mike, the only positive I see after 1st leg is that hopefully, Tav and Ventura will never appear on TV again. Every coach has a fav formation, not because it looks better on paper, but because it allows him to implement a specific strategy, this guy has none, he had a whole year to tinker.. and we get this. I don't think anyone agreed with Conte's team selection and formation but we all agreed to shut up and watch right after the Belgium game, and oh. TBC
on the 11th November, 2017 at 2:22am
As a complete Azzurri fan, surely we have to be constructive and admit Ventura is not the only problem. Italy, the players are not what they are advertised to be. Aside from Ventura, the formation, can we be constructive and post/discuss Italy's real problems?
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:29am
I don't know what else to say, but ventura has to go; even if miraculously they win Monday night. He is in over his head and does not know how to play the players he has. He chose to play belotti who is not 100% yet, and El sharaawy who is having an amazing year, is not even on the bench. pathetic. I hope they don't qualify, and fire everyone at the FIGC and start all over. Its disgraceful. Mancini or ancellotti are you available?
on the 11th November, 2017 at 12:27am
Football Italia's rating of Ventura : 0
Has completely dismantled and ruined the Italian National team after Euro 2016.
The way Italy play now is disjointed, devoid of any passion and motivation, totally unrecognizable.
If we fail to qualify on Monday a whole nation will be asking for Ventura's head and Tavecchio's, Uva's, etc. they will be spat on in the streets of Italy and will forever hide their miserable heads in shame..FIGC are nothing short of criminal!
on the 11th November, 2017 at 12:21am
Why don't you go watch the african nation of France!
You sound like a man looking for moments like this so you can come on here and be racist yourself- classic case of pot, kettle, black i think!
Go ahead call me racist i said black!!!
on the 10th November, 2017 at 11:28pm
As per usual teams with lesser quality players play with passion and aggression because this was their cup final and they play with more national pride.

I wasn't overly confident going into this and now I'm even less so.There will be plenty of people who think when we get them to the San Siro we will steamroller them but I'm not so sure.
on the 10th November, 2017 at 11:19pm
I simply don't understand why doesn't play a 4-3-3. to win the world cup you have to play good football.


jorginho-----------de rossi---------marchisio


unleash the attacking talent. u need 2 goals now
on the 10th November, 2017 at 10:48pm
Ventura should have been sacked after the draw to Macedonia. He has been inconvincible that his methods are not working and inflexible to any type of progressive change.
I think 3.5.2 would work, but i would set it up as so:
Barzagli Rugani Chiellini
Bernardeschi Verratti Jorghino Gagliardini Insigne
Balotelli Immobile

Bonucci has been woeful lately, and balotelli has size that we need up front
on the 10th November, 2017 at 10:16pm
Ventura, totally out of his depth.
Further highlighted by the team selection tonight and the formation lottery.
Now blaming the ref for tonight's defeat.
What a joker!
He and his best friends at the FIGC should all go now.
on the 10th November, 2017 at 10:15pm
chill everyone. I was there in 82 when everyone thought the worst (and Rossi was a gambler etc) I was also there in 1990 when everyone thought we'ed do better than we did - with home advantage. And we were all there in 2006! I even remember watching (on TV) the play off against Russia 20 years ago. The snow, the ice, Russia, away, and Italy still got through.
Dai lo faremo!
on the 10th November, 2017 at 3:07pm
Same old story, southerners and oriundi ignored by the racist, dead national team of Italy.

Rotting stadia, humiliating embarrassments on the field, corruption in referees and matches collusion between owners. I hope they lose to Sweden. And arrogantly declaring themselves better than the German or French league because some nonsense calculation coefficient says so.

on the 10th November, 2017 at 2:51pm
Well, this is a pleasant surprise.
The above statement is false.

Might as well gamble on Ventura to the bitter end. And for the record, should THIS Italy side fail to qualify, it's not because there's a lack of quality players or faulty structure. Worse teams have won trophies as proven by history, and Italy certainly have all the cards they need, better than a few other recent campaigns.

Ventura needs to deliver the trophy to prove his critics wrong, or admit his appointment was a mistake.
on the 10th November, 2017 at 12:38pm
How can you ignore El Shaarawy, who is in spectacular form?
Not even on the bench.

In favor of Eder... EDER!

on the 10th November, 2017 at 12:33pm
Happy Jorginho's in the squad... But way too many old players in our lineup - it has 7 players 30 plus. We'll beat Sweden over 2 legs but at the WC it needs to change to 433 or 3511 and take out some of the 30 plus out of the line up (Parolo Barzagli and De Rossi, maybe Candreva)

Florenzi, Chellini, Bonucci, Emerson
Veratti, Jorginho, Pellegrini
Insigne, Belotti, Candreva

Chellini, Bonucci, Romagnoli,
Florenzi, Veratti, Jorginho, Pellegrini, Emerson
on the 10th November, 2017 at 12:22pm
It's frustrating that we've gone this far without knowing what our best formation is yet! Ventura is tactically inept! He's being cautious if he chooses to go 3-5-2 tonight. I hope for the 2nd leg he chooses a 4-3-3. I can't help but fear that he's missing a trick tonight by possibly not starting Insigne in the first leg (even if it's as the 2nd striker)!
on the 10th November, 2017 at 12:22pm
Rugani deserves a starting place? Please. Let's see him start for Juve consistently first.

But Ventura will probably go down as one of the most notorious people in the history of Italian football. A blind man would see this Italy needs to play 4-3-3.
on the 10th November, 2017 at 10:57am
Sachi? The guy who cost us group qualification in 96 by resting key players in the second game against the brilliant Czechs? Ventura is a muppet but no thanks.
on the 10th November, 2017 at 10:45am
If we qualify it will hide over the cracks.Italian football is suffering.Our stadiums and crowds are poor.Whilst the Prem is flooded with foreigners,they are of a higher value as Prem teams have more money.In Seria A italian youth is losing out to average foreign players.

If we don't qualify it should mean an overhaul but that would never happen sadly.
on the 10th November, 2017 at 9:40am
Let's see whether he has really learnt anything tonight
on the 10th November, 2017 at 7:58am
A total retard, What's worse is his boss! Is this what Italy needs? What in the f**k this world is coming into? Suppose Italy fails to qualify, how in the world will a WC be without Italy? How is that Italy with all the talents it possesses has an incompetent CT & Head of FIGC? Questions looking for answers! Sachi please save us...
on the 10th November, 2017 at 4:03am
Sachi looks younger than when he coached! Might as well give him a shot...

Can anyone think of a worse CT in the modern history of the Nazionale?
on the 10th November, 2017 at 2:50am
If there's any consolation that not getting into the world cup would bring, it's that hopefully Ventura, Tavecchio and co would all go. The Italian National team needs a desperate restructuring. The result and performances of late have been woeful and a fantastically skilled and exciting batch of young prospects are going to waste.
on the 10th November, 2017 at 1:55am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.