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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...
So many issues with this Italy... it all starts with Tavecchio and Ventura. Both need to go. The past FIGC's prior to Tavecchio would have sacked Ventura after the Spain thrashing (bearing in mind we beat the 2-0 with weaker players a year earlier at Euro 2016) yet alone the 0-0 with Malt, the scrappy with over Albania and now the loss to Sweden. Both are out of their depth, Tavecchio reminds me of Del Boy and Ventura - Roy Hodgson, when we produce some of the finest managers in world football.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 2:33pm
Ventura has to be fired before the 2nd leg for Italy to have any chance of going to the World Cup. This is an emergency, anybody would do a better job than him.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 2:32pm
I didn't agree from day 1 that Ventura should have been hired but as a supporter of the Azzurri I gave him a chance. However, the quality went down from the first couple of games. Isn't he suppose to improve over time? He became a conceited coach who has no place coaching the Azzurri. Many coaches and non-coaches alike disagree with his formations and the desire to put players out of their normal positions. Players are even confused.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:50pm
This man is doing us no favors start the match in a 352 with your most informed player insigne on the bench along with Jorginho who do a lot better in a 433 but no Ventura plays some 352 he never tired before to a 42 frickin 4, parolo shouldn't be anywhere near a Azeri jersey he got outplayed and de Rossi is just running around, veratti looks like he hasn't improved much at psg he's so indisciplined, were down a goal you bring on Eder pssssh!! Mamma Mia Italia were better than this
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:39pm
When are coaches gonna understand that tactics,lineups,formations are not about fashion but about what's best for the team.Why a back 3?Are Sweden that devastating going forward?No.Why didnt Insigne start?He doesnt defend much for a wing back?Screw it!You need goals.Change formation if that's a big concern.Two years of preparation and you cant find players better than Candreva,Eder,Parolo,and an aging De Rossi.Aren't Jorginho,Bernardeschi,Insigne,Gagliardini,Chiesa,Florenzi, good enough?
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:38pm
...... Anyone dismissing the call for Balotelli or Giovinco should have a good long chat with themselves, and consider: are Immobile, Belotti and Eder, really better and are they really playing in a far superior league? Just ask the Swedish players where they play. Let’s hope for a 433 with Players fit and doing well in serieA. Jorghino, Indigne El sharrawy at least.

Forza azzurri
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:36pm
Certamento! The man is deluded. The wrong players in the wrong formations, continuously! Tavechio is equally as deluded. A third rate president and racist to boot. If he had any gumption he would have stepped in by now. At least to voice concerns. The clamour for 433 is too little too late. The ignominy of failing to reach the WC is too much. Every Italian is a know it all coach, and we are entitled to be...........
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:32pm
They tried but Italy look disjointed n even dispirited. I hope a full San Siro can help them turn it around but like GV himself I'm more in hope than certainty! It's bad enough that Holland aren't there. I agree u should qualify on merit but Italy along with Germany, Brazil n maybe Argentina r the traditional powerhouses n any WC without them just won't b the same. France,Germany n Belgium come back stronger after failures led to n overhaul. Hope Italy can do the same even if they do QF.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:27pm
Don't always say this but I agree with everything in this article.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:13pm
Thats karma for the Thierry Henry handball

Forza Juve
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:10pm
Thats karma for the Thierry Henry handball

Forza Juve
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:10pm
Worst nightmare came true! I agree that GV is stubbornly over complicating things n even the tactical change seemed 2 b more in hope than certainty! Insigne in MF! Throwing Eder on after his goal v Sweden in the Euro's! He needed a game changer but barring Insigne he left them all out! Balo, Giovinco n even SES or Gabb have more of a creative spark than Eder tho Darmian did well. I only saw the highlight's but he crossed 4 AB n hit the post with Italy's best effort. CI n AB r too similar up top
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:08pm
I dont understand coaches anymore.At times it seems like self sabotage.Wenger,Montella,Ventura come to mind recently.Even Mourinho at times makes some moronic decisions and dont get me started on Pep in the CL with Bayern and during his first season with City.At least for now Pep seems to have learned from his mistakes and found himself again.Ventura had 2 years and instead of Insigne,Jorginho,Gagliardini,Chiesa,Florenzi we see Candreva,De Rossi,Parolo,Eder on the pitch.It's self sabotage.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 1:08pm
Who would defend him? We all knew one way or another we were going to reach this point. Personally i think its best that we bow out, learn from our mistakes and start over. This is a horribly coached team ( don't forget the lack of enthusiasm on the team as well). Replace both Tavechio and Ventura immediately after elimination. Begin with a very competent coach and go back to our roots and play great football once again.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 12:45pm
Honestly, who was defending him? At best, the most optimistic people preferred to wait for results. I can't remember one time he was praised, it'd be really sad if that wasn't hyperbole.

Clock is ticking, and players can only be patient for so long. The only positive I see is that this potential exit motivates the players back in their respective clubs. That's it. If a change in coach causes a spark now, that's more than enough to sack Ventura.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 12:44pm
I'm feeling incredulous right now. I don't know how somebody can be so obtuse, stubborn & illogical. It almost feels as though Ventura is some kind of saboteur. He is ticking all the wrong boxes. I can imagine that the dressing room is akin to Mutiny on the Bounty right now. So we are on course for two first round knock outs & now a no show. I find it difficult to put us even in the third tier of International teams right now.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 12:43pm
It is just as well for the players that Ventura is so bad because they appear to be getting a free ride for their shocking display yesterday. It's not just the manager. It's typical Italian overconfidence that makes them think the can just go over there an half-ass it, despite being such a mediocre group of has-beens. To concede a goal like that at this level is absolutely disgraceful. That is not down to the system.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 12:33pm
Bust him and bring Ancelotti for San Siro Clash.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 12:22pm
He has to go now, otherwise they will not make it. Ventura is out of his depth and totally lost the plot.He is the worst Italian national manager ever! Every true Italian fan knows the system and players needed and its staggering and beyond believe what is happening on the pitch. Put Buffon in charge for Mondays match and he would hope and restore hope, much needed pride and passion to get us to the world cup.
Forza Italia!
on the 11th November, 2017 at 12:06pm
This man is doing us no favors start the match in a 352 with your most informed player insigne on the bench along with Jorginho who do a lot better in a 433 but no Ventura plays some 352 he never tired before to a 42 frickin 4, parolo shouldn't be anywhere near a Azeri jersey he got outplayed and de Rossi is just running around, veratti looks like he hasn't improved much at psg he's so indisciplined, were down a goal you bring on Eder pssssh!! Mamma Mia Italia were better than this
on the 11th November, 2017 at 12:01pm
This man is doing us no favors start the match in a 352 with your most informed player insigne on the bench along with Jorginho who do a lot better in a 433 but no Ventura plays some 352 he never tired before to a 42 frickin 4, parolo shouldn't be anywhere near a Azzuri jersey he got outplayed, de Rossi is just running around like usual, veratti looks like he hasn't improved AT ALL at psg he's so indisciplined , were down a goal you bring on Eder pssssh!! Mamma Mia Italia were better than
on the 11th November, 2017 at 12:00pm
I didn't know he had any adovocates. GET OUT NOW BEFORE MONDAY VENTURA!it's like Tavecchio, who caused this mess, really doesn't care - just happy to have his role, make changes suited to the big clubs and have an easy life. He can CLEAR OFF too. This is a World Cup and they just fiddle. DO SOMETHING.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 11:53am
"Planet Earth to Ventura, Planet Earth to Ventura!": The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 11:44am
This is where Italian football finally died last night...Once and for all. Italy are on par with the likes of Georgia, Moldova, Iraq. The FIGC need to hang their heads in shame. Corrupt to the core and employ a silly old man who hasn’t won anything in calcio. Italy will never produce a Buffon, Pirlo, Totti, Maldini anymore. Even Wales have surpassed us. Get used to the idea of Italy fighting it out for third place in future qualifying tournaments. Get behind England next summer dark horses! .
on the 11th November, 2017 at 11:41am
Amen, Suzy.

Even if we qualify, Ventura has to go. Get rid of Tavecchio too. It wouldn't be too late to appoint someone with calibre and experience like Ancelotti or Mancini and achieve a good run in Russia.

The ratings sum it up - Ventura: 0.

Clueless, stubborn and out of his depth.

Heres hoping he deploys a 433 with Florenzi, Jorginho, Insigne, SES and co on Monday, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
on the 11th November, 2017 at 11:40am

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