Saturday November 11 2017
Nobody can defend Ventura now

Following the defeat in Sweden with an inexplicable team selection, Giampiero Ventura has no more Italy advocates, writes Susy Campanale.

Is there anyone left willing to defend Giampiero Ventura? We tried, we really did, but his decisions both before and during the defeat to Sweden just proved he has reached the end of the road and his advocates the end of their tethers.

You can complain that Italy no longer have the quality in the squad they once did, that Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile were not fully fit on the night, that the BBC defence is ageing and Gigi Buffon was unlucky to see the goal deflected in off Daniele De Rossi. All that doesn’t explain the idiotic choices and infuriating post-match comments from the Coach.

Ventura finally shelved his controversial 4-2-4 formation and embraced the old guard – literally, as seven of the starting XI were over the age of 30. It was the same 3-5-2 that Antonio Conte had used to good effect at Euro 2016, but with none of the players remotely suited to it.

It was a bad sign when Stephan El Shaarawy was cut from the 23-man squad, sent to the stands when he was one of the form players in Serie A and fresh from a Champions League demolition of Chelsea in the Roma jersey. Even worse when Lorenzo Insigne was left on the bench to rot with his Napoli teammate Jorginho.

This group of players is so perfectly-suited to the 4-3-3 system, it feels like some cruel joke that Ventura is using every other approach in the book first. Napoli and Roma both use it, and they are playing the best football in Italy right now, with some of the most impressive results too.

It felt for all the world as if Ventura was trying to give the critics what they wanted, but in a purposefully wrong-headed way, to shut them up in future. They pined for the Conte era? Here was a 3-5-2 system. They wanted Insigne to play? Here he was, flung on for the final 15 minutes as a central midfielder. It’s the equivalent of when a teenager doesn’t want to do the chores, so conspires to do them so badly out of sheer spite that in the end the parent won’t ask again.

I can think of no other possible reason for Insigne to be introduced as a central midfielder, especially with Jorginho sitting on the bench. The Napoli winger’s shrug of incredulity and resignation to his teammates when explaining his new position said it all.

It might now be a blessing in disguise that Verratti is suspended for the second leg. The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder has talent, but at the age of 25 hasn’t fixed any of the massive flaws he’s carried around since the start of his career. When he was one booking away from suspension for the second leg, it was utterly inevitable he would lunge into a stupid tackle and receive a yellow card. In fact, that’s what you can expect from him in almost every match. It’s the Verratti guarantee.

Of course, Ventura won’t choose Jorginho in his place, because that would make too much sense. He won’t move to 4-3-3, he won’t use Insigne in his proper role, he won’t bow to popular opinion. His comments in Solna were all about bad luck, the lenient referee and a good overall performance. His refusal or downright inability to see the glaring issues facing the Azzurri make his position untenable.

This is why, even if Italy do somehow scrape into the World Cup in 2018, Ventura has got to go.

Have your say...
Bernardeschi summed it up best. IMO Ventura's undeserved arrogance cost the nation a World Cup place.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:04am
ciao amici!
I can't believe Ventura is still in charge!
how do you expect buffon to perform very well when his
coach voted for Ronaldo as the best player of cl???
Verratti! not playing is a real blessing! he is overrated but INSIGNE who would make the difference!
Jorginho should play with Insigne and Candreva in the mid field! 4-3-3 is only our hope!
we need to see more of short range shots as Sweden are all tall!
I know I won't be easy for us but then we are warriors!
forza azzurri!
on the 12th November, 2017 at 4:16am
Should of sacked Ventura once the qualifiers were finished. Ancelotti please..... Tavecchio needs to go as well. Bring back Ballotelli.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 10:45pm
Conte was worst wasn't he? The haters calling for Ventura, and the only defense was "Conte was worst" lol. They are still singing to my ears.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 8:29pm
Very good analysis Susy. But one thing I have noticed about Ventura, he has had a tendency of wanting to be stubborn and outright illogical in his tactical decisions. Like pointed out, Napoli and Roma are playing well, so why not use their blue-print? Spain has used Barcelona's, and look where it took them. Total dominance of World football.It shouldn't be rocket science to realize that Damian can't be fluid enuf as a left-wing-back, as he would on d right. If Spinnazola is absent, do a back 4.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 6:45pm
I think we're all in agreement that Italy's performance was poor;slow, lacking imagination, the front two cannot play together and Ventura's formation brought out the worst in the Azzurri, and no where near the best. My main concern is that I don't see how things can be changed in the next leg. I think it's wishful thinking to hope that on Monday they'll suddenly start playing fluid football with pace and power. I'm convinced we're not going to Russia, no matter what we do. 40/60 chance at best.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 5:15pm
However, if he can start with 4-3-3 now, and not look back, things might improve.

In a way, I think the loss was a good thing as Italy always perform with backs on the wall. Had it been 0-0, people would have praised coach, and then they could get complacent for 2nd leg.

This loss is just the thing that may be needed for this coach to dump his arrogance.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 5:09pm
El Shaarawy and Insigne should start, with Bernardeschi off bench.In midfield, Jorginho, Gagliardini and hell, call Marchisio from Juve. He played 90 minutes last weekend, and even at 60%fit, he can produce more than DeRossi/Parolo.
4 man backline, with Darmian and Zappacosta as sidebacks.
Even Gabbiadini can do better and should get a chance off bench, if both Immobile and Belotti not at best. Seeing Eder kick in the air nowhere near ball was a perfect example of clueless Ventura's selection.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 5:07pm
When Ventura came, he had the reputation of getting best out of youngsters, and I was optimistic and thought it might be a freshness from Conte's team.

However under pressure, he has crumbled and brought the same old guys, and now 1.5 years since Euro 2016, they don't have the quality anymore.

Barzagli, DeRossi, Parolo, Candreva should be dropped now and retire. And why is Ventura using any other formation than 4-3-3? clearly thats the one that can get best out of Italy.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 5:04pm
CLEARLY the midfield Italy should be playing is one where Jorginho is the DM and Verratti plays just next to him so they can play quick one-touch football while exchanging positions often to create space for each other and the more attack-minded players. Two technically gifted CMs and they are completely misused or unused. It's the same for pretty much every position under Ventura. Switching formation won't do anything at this point because his tactics are stone age and nonexistent at best.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 4:53pm
why can't we ever move forward in terms of thinking ? Barzagli , DDR , offer nothing in attack ( Barzagli never has awful player living on past reputation which I struggle to remember ) Rugani chips in with goals from set pieces and Florenzi / Zappacosta / Spinazzola injured I know !
We had to get crosses in for Belotti and Ciro this manager did not even recognise that and was playing for 0-0 shame on him .
on the 11th November, 2017 at 4:51pm
Well, everyone has pretty much summed it up. On a tactical level, why on earth Ventura uses Verratti as a B2B mid I'll never know. Seeing him run around in the final third like he's a dummy runner and having Bonucci act like the Regista over and over again is just embarrassing. The entire midfield looked appalling and it appears Ventura sees CMs as diversion runners so the strikers can receive long balls from the CBs. This misuse of some great players is simply horrifying.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 4:49pm
Maybe the locker room needs a revaBUFFON! And Gigi should pick the side, seeing as he has the most experience of winning and grinding results out that matter!!!! This so embarrassing!!! Just... huh... no words anymore
on the 11th November, 2017 at 4:37pm
Italy are it's worst own enemy. Too many critics, people complain to keep out balotelli people complain that insigne needs to play. Insigne is terrible for italy, plain and simple. Napoli he's great, italy it's a different story. How many more chances does he need? They need a coach that leaves politics and critics aside and brings the best we have. Immobile and belotti are the exact same player so why do they play together. I don't care what anyone says but balotelli last night is a game change
on the 11th November, 2017 at 4:35pm
What I can say, the man did everything wrong in last night 1st leg World Cup play-off and still not convinced that there is much easier solution to adopt. I feel like its too late to do the right thing.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 4:22pm
I bet Tavecchio can find a way to defend him!!
on the 11th November, 2017 at 4:12pm
I would honestly sack him today, let one of the coaches take charge of the second leg and if somehow they qualify then ask Ancelotti or Mancini to guide us through the tournament. It's not like they'd have to learn a new way of playing in a short space of time because they currently don't have a system or style in place anyway. It annoyed me watching Ventura in that stupid coat walking around the technical area without actually saying anything. He looked lost and is out of his depth. Awful
on the 11th November, 2017 at 4:08pm
I have to agree wholeheartedly. I felt the same when seeing El Shaarawy cut for Zaza, who then gets injured. And not starting Insigne. The whole way through his tenure Ventura has either picked out of form players in their proper positions, or in form players out of position. Sweden's defense good at defending against headers, so why does Ventura plan a game strategy around that feeds into that strength?
on the 11th November, 2017 at 3:57pm
The only striker that I see that will be comfortable playing with any of the others is Gabbiadini. Who's heart did not sink when Eder was sent on as the 1st sub. Jorginho, Insigne, Florenzi should start while Candreva and Ddr should not. Bellotinshould also be dropped
on the 11th November, 2017 at 3:55pm
Ventura is a total embarrassment. He is clueless & does not have ideas to take the current Azzurri forward.
I was very surprised when he was hired for the job! Selecting a manager who used to coach a middle table Serie-A team is a crime that requires the Head of FIGC to be counted for. Yesterday's game proved as it was the ugliest match I've ever seen from an Azzurri that Ventura is a very bad coach.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 3:49pm
How did this guy get the job in the first place?? What has he done in italian soccer. His brilliant soccer managerial tactics to get back in the game was to bring in Eder!!! Eder hasnt even played for Inter. Does He know he has 3 subs to make?? What was he waiting for. Even if by the grace of God they make it through, which by the way they played yesterday and the way Sweden played probably wont happen, This guy should be replaced ASAP. He really is embarrassing Italian soccer.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 3:22pm
Italy started play acting which riled the crowd making them up the volume that inspired Sweden to attack and score. Chiellini, Bonucci and DDR were disgraceful with their antics. As 4 Ventura he is in a class of his mown in buffoonery. I really fear for Italy as this man has no clue at all. There is nothing to suggest he and his team have the imagination to open up Sweden. If Sweden do score Italy will need 3 goals. It's something when the most creative player was Fosberg. Who plays 2 no9s
on the 11th November, 2017 at 3:16pm
Perfect 23 Man Squad with a 433

3 GK - Buffon, Donnarumma, Meret

4 CB - Chellini, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rugani OR Caldara

3 WB - Florenzi, Emerson, Conti

5 MF - Veratti, Jorginho, Pellegrini, Marchiso, Bonaventura

4 WF Insigne, Berardi (if fit), El Sharrwary, Chiesa OR Bernadeschi

4 CF - Belotti, Balotelli, Immobile, Zaza

NO Eder, Parolo, De Rossi, Astori, Bargagli, Giabiadini, Darmian, Ambrosio, Candreva misses out because he is not the player he was and we have better youngsters
on the 11th November, 2017 at 3:09pm
Saving the worst for last I will come to Ventura later. Italy were really poor last nite. Verratti and his annoying need to always go to ground was 1, De Rossi's now cumbersome manner was 2 but no one vexed me more than Candreva. He is the epitome of allowing opposition to recover to their defensive stance with his taking too many touches before over or under hitting a cross. His corner kicks were always about passing to Veratti then wasting the chance. Sweden were struggling in 2nd half until
on the 11th November, 2017 at 3:08pm
An avantura with ventura. Woooooot. I hope Sweden goes through, although I'd be said for Buffon, but Italy with this kind of play doesn't deserve it.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 3:07pm
I think it is up to the seniors to have a word with this coach. I am talking about the likes of buffon, barzagli and de rossi. these guys have so much experience. there are guys on the bench that help this team play better. a 4-3-3 would be best but even a 3-4-3 would work.

de rossi------jorginho-----marchisio(don't understand why he wasn't called)


seniors need to convince him
on the 11th November, 2017 at 3:04pm
Without a shadow of doubt the worse and most incompetent coach I've ever had the misfortune of witnessing.
Someone needs to put him out of his misery!
on the 11th November, 2017 at 2:57pm
At the World Cup (if we get there) we need a new manager... Ancelotti or Mancini.

Ventura is the worst manager I have ever seen in my life for the national team.

In my other comments I picked players in my line up for the second leg that wouldn't even get into the squad which shows how bad Ventura's selections are i.e. Ambrosio, Gagliardini but with no Marchiso/Pellegrini/Veratti/Bonaventura or Conti/Palmeri/Florenzi needed to energise the midfield we have no choice.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 2:52pm
Unfortunately Ventura wont get sacked before Monday, best we can hope purely based on players available

Damian Bonucci Chellini Ambrosio
Florenzi Jorginho Gaglardini
Insigne Immobile El Sharawary

Ambrosia, Gagliardini because its a home game for both
El Sha, Insigne and Immobile based on club form

Dropped De Rossi Barzagli too old / no longer good enough, Parolo is old and mediocre.

With Zaza Belotti and Immobile unfit - a fit Balotelli should have been starting
on the 11th November, 2017 at 2:46pm
Ventura should not even be behind the bench MONDAY. Was the 1-0 loss enough evidence that his way has not worked at all. We are crying for some creativity and some speed. Please dont say we dont have the players for this. We have a great core of younger players and more dynamic players that dont get called. Its time for players like DeRossi, Cardreva, Paraolo, Barzgali, Giabadini, Eder, and a few more to make way.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 2:43pm

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