Sunday November 12 2017
This Italy needs changes

After Italy’s defeat to Sweden, Giampiero Ventura must tinker with tactics and attitude to reach the World Cup, writes Matthew Santangelo.

Calling Italy’s first leg performance of this World Cup play-off an embarrassment is probably an understatement. It says something about the Nazionale's history that they are nonetheless still considered favourites to qualify on Betstars, but is that optimism warranted?

Coach Giampiero Ventura did not help matters with his post-match comments showing a weak mentality. While players Lorenzo Insigne and Leonardo Bonucci seemed to transmit a more no-excuses, no-nonsense attitude, Ventura looked to deflect attention and criticism away from his own faults. Not only did Sweden play with more physicality and toughness, but also their early pressing and overall approach stifled the Azzurri throughout.

In building from the back, Sweden forced Italy into circulating possession from one end of the pitch to the other, with no choice but to have wingbacks Matteo Darmian and Antonio Candreva drop deeper in order to bring play forward. By doing this, Italy did not have the numbers in the midfield, nor the creative means to provide any sort of consistent flow of chances to strikers Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti.

Though the two lacked the necessary movement and runs to open more of a window to cause havoc, this Italy side suffered from the non-existent box-to-box profile that can link play between midfield and attack, which is why the visitors were devoid of any real chances – minus the missed header from Belotti.

Proof is in the post-match stats that Italy’s midfield five did not do enough and, essentially, isn’t the proper personnel type that can get it done. Italy outshot Sweden 10 to eight, but had only one effort on target, which saw Darmian hit the post.

As Marco Verratti sits out the second leg due to suspension, and Daniele De Rossi lacks the technical means to create, Ventura must shake up the midfield by starting Jorginho.

Rather than having De Rossi sit as the destroyer at the base, Ventura could insert Jorginho and another holding partner of his choice, use two wingbacks to stretch the field and insert a player like Insigne as a Number 10 behind two strikers. This could help Ventura get more from his midfield by allowing the Napoli star, and arguably the side’s most skilled player, link play and get on the ball often to create for those up front.

Moving off tactics and back on to the mental side of things for the Azzurri, their the mentality needs a facelift. ‘Grinta’ and passion were two of former manager Antonio Conte’s biggest focuses for his Euro 2016 side that, although did not have the same level of quality as Ventura’s current roster, battled for one another and showed the sacrificial attitude required to rise up in situations like these.

As we’ve clearly seen time and time again, Italy has the quality to play attractive football, but lack the right mentality and hunger to make it work. These come down to tactics and attitude, something each and every individual in the locker room must change come Monday if Italy are to stave off elimination and avoid missing out on the World Cup for the first time in 60 years. Otherwise, it’s curtains on the Italians at San Siro.

Have your say...
Italy couldn't score goals the whole tournament, they've become the Australia of European football. I'm a AS Roma fan but De Rossi & the other old players, Buffon included, should never have been selected. Italy needs goals. Tevvechio is to blame & must go. Italy needs youth development. Seria A needs to get better & limit foreign players. Its been a long time coming. Italy need to do what Germany did. If they don't? They'll be a memory. Forza Roma.
on the 17th November, 2017 at 11:17am
De Rossi didn't play particularly well in the first game, tho it's hard to see much he could have done. I would have liked to see him use his passing range to open the field. That said, at least you know what you're getting from even a stamina-lacking De Rossi: he's still a world-class player (sorry for those who disagree but only Kante is better in that position). He wasn't the problem.

Parolo is a terrific player at club, and even then not the protagonist. Did this guy ever get subbed out?
on the 15th November, 2017 at 5:32pm
on the 14th November, 2017 at 12:37am
@ Anonymous King

Well said.

It's funny that fans like us are "coaches from the couches" but some real coach can't understand those principles.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 5:37pm
I have a feeling the fear of conceding that away goal will paralyse this team and the game will end up as 0-0. Their current position is no surprise. When your squad lacks talented players and is led by a joke of a coach, then you will always end up with YOUR BACK AGAINST THE WALL. What is the formation tonight Ventura? 2-7-1? or will it be 5-1-4? sack him even if (a very big 'if' in that) they do qualify!!!! Imbecil...
on the 13th November, 2017 at 1:05pm
Based on the performances we have so far from this team, it'd be much better if they stayed home and saved themselves from further embarrassment at the finals next year.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 11:09am
Sweden will be very physical like the first game that's for sure.We must not let them turn the game into a war.An early goal is a must.Only 74.000 due at the San Siro so far.This game should be a sell out.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 11:07am
Italia will not qualify and thats for certain. Sweden is not Serie C team that you just thump aside...they are good. Italia is just 11 players without idea or heart and Ventura is shit of a manager. San Siro can´t help if you play like shit. Italia is out!
on the 13th November, 2017 at 10:14am
although I am not Italian but I am a big fan for Italy.

If Italy continue to play as they did in 1 leg then they will never score even if they play 240 minutes. they should be solid and strong in every cm over the pitch. they should not conceal any goal. the key is to score the first goal.
Sweede will defend and rely on counter attack. we want to see a lot of courage and patient from the player. the one goal can come at any moment but they should not give sweede any chance to attache or socre
on the 13th November, 2017 at 10:04am
agree with everything that 'anonymous is my name' said. could not be any more truthful. Also, from what Ive read, he is starting gabbiadini and jorginho. What a time to start with these guys. I've got a bad feeling about tomorrow, and don't think we will qualify.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 2:21am
The Ventura INSANITY continues...

AGAIN 2 out and out strikers together GETTING IN EACH OTHERS WAY... Gabbiadini and Immobile

AGAIN only 2 pure midfielders ie.Jorginho and the useless Parolo in a game where we need to control the midfield

on the 12th November, 2017 at 10:38pm
If we must persist with the 3-5-2, Insigne should be used as the 2nd striker along with Gabbiadini. His vision and flair will ask questions of the Swedish defence plus Gabbiadini's strength and aerial ability will prove more of a threat than Immobile or an unfit Belotti.



De Rossi

on the 12th November, 2017 at 10:17pm
Carlo Benedetto,

You really think so? We work with what we have, but this damn manager, man. They ain't half bad these players however. Bonaventura and Cigarini for me should be involved too. The ingredients are there, we need a much better chef.

They may be angry, but is the formation, the chemistry, the will enough? They have one foot already out!

I hope you are right. Turn that stadium into Hell tomorrow.

Forza Italia.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 9:57pm
Italia will scrape through tomorrow and will challenge for the world cup while England andthe likes wont pass last out for my words..75 thousand fans will turn San Siro into a cauldron..Sweden will know what it is like....Buffon and the boys are angry and hurt
on the 12th November, 2017 at 9:43pm
The real kicks to the stomach started when they sacked Donadoni in 2008 (after we lost on penalties (!), and WE the only nation to give that war machine Spain a hard time; and we would have won the damn Euro if Pirlo and Gattuso had not gotten yellow cards, lucky Spain).
Then they brought back Lippi and look what happened.


Prandelli and Baloteli were the next disasters.

Now, I want someone to explain what Ventura has done in his career to deserve the job he has with our Nazionale.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 9:23pm
@Anonymous King - You absolutely nailed it! That is a wicked formula for national team success. This is precisely what Mancini or Ancelotti would do.

Ventura is simply out of his depth in many ways. He has never won anything in his career, which means his ideas have not been proven to work at this highest level. It's no surprise Italy look like a provincial side right now. In a way, I feel sorry for him because he's being asked to do a job he's not qualified for.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 9:20pm
Hitting the post does not count as a shot on target, but the other way around.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 8:59pm
Mamma Mia, I think we will be watching the Cup from our sofas next summer. This is the price we pay for not pampering young Italian kids in our league. Money talks, eh?

I don't see how they can score two goals. Is Ventura all at fault? The players are on the pitch, not him.
How is it possible to play Verratti and Insigne out of their roles? And only the last ten minutes with Lorenzo?

Ancelotti must jump in, should we win tomorrow, but then again he already stated he is not interested!

on the 12th November, 2017 at 7:18pm
Too much analysis. Just need a manager more suited to the job.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 7:03pm
@papaberts hahahahahhahaahahahhahahaaaabahah. silenzioso Idiota. Just wait and see.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 6:28pm
Oh well I guess for now we'll have to just take the rubbish that some idiots, with little football knowledge give out. I mean unless they are Brazilian or Germans.......Are you of one of these countries they are the only other 2 countries more successful than Italy......You'll be like the rest of them that have come on this'll soon disappear and just pop your ugly head when there is a negative result for Italy. Like other idiots of the past we have encountered.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 5:00pm
Oh well I guess for now we'll have to just take the crap that some idiots, with little football knowledge give out. I mean unless they are Brazilian or Germans.......Are you of one of these countries they are the only other 2 countries more successful than Italy..........Strunzzzz
on the 12th November, 2017 at 4:49pm
Lets be clear here Sweden are a decent team nothing more yet in my view where far better than us. Ventura blames everything and everyone but himself. We have been abysmal since Spain game yet we keep picking the same rubbish and playing the same negative way. No penetration against swedan just pass pass pass going nowhere, so easy for swedan to defend. Pirlo retired last week, I would take him at 38 years old on one leg above Verratti and Parolo. Verratti is so overated its incredible.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 4:26pm
I cant even find the words to describe how clueless Ventura is, terrible tactics, picks the wrong players and the players he picks are played out of position and are confused. Insigne was confused as was the rest of the team when he came on for Verratti in his role. Jorginho has to start on Monday, I would bet that he wont play a single minute though. Why call him up and not play him, utter madness. Best midfielder in serie A yet Parolo plays above him. TRUELY INCREDIBLE.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 4:20pm
Carlo just keep dreaming Italy will win the World Cup again and pretend you’re in the Godfather, Goodfellas. Nothing to be jealous about. It’s you who can’t handle and accept the truth. Italy are finished. The nation is on its knees. Italy won’t qualify. Italian football is dead and buried. Be lucky to witness Italy winning a World Cup now accept Italy will fight it out with SAN Marino for last spot. That’s how bad it’s got. Get your head out of the sand and have an espresso and a cannoli.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 4:18pm
FIGC Corrupt, enough of your jealous tirade, we have not yet lost..We have 90 minutes to go and history shows that we will perform when our backs are up against our walls..Ur northern Ireland team is on par with a serie C team.. England the black and white team will never reach the quarterfinals for another 50 years..It has never beaten Italia mind u.enough of ur jealous tirade
on the 12th November, 2017 at 3:43pm
Simple Italian football is dead and Italy on par with Northern Ireland stats don’t lie. Third rate nation.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 3:26pm
2/2..As heart breaking and embarrassing as it will be this is the apocalypse that needs to happen for us to first rid ourselves of this absolutely clueless fool we have on our bench and secondly for Serie A to change and address the amount of forgeiners at all of the top clubs and to invest and respect the youth of our once great footballing nation; no more than 4 non italians to be fielded by a side, if it takes 10 years it takes 10 years but we need change.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 2:26pm
'This italy....' Italy in general needs change. Serie A needs overhaul. Not qualifying is probably the best thing that can happen. The reform that is needed is changes at club level and not qualifying means there is no longer anywhere to hide. The are to many forgeiners in Serie A plain and simple. The pool of players to choose from is simply not big or good enough espcially for a completly clueless managet like Ventura. His lottery for formations has left the team confused and broken...1/2
on the 12th November, 2017 at 2:20pm
National managers get far less time with their players than club managers do. Consequently, players are programmed to play football in the style and fashion dictated by their club managers, and not their national managers. It is therefore understandable that many successful national managers simply adopt the below simple approach to great effect. Just look at Spain, Germany etc.

1. Select players that have been playing regular club football.
2. Select players that are in form.
3. Select a formation that the majority of the squad play at club level.
4. Ensure that there is a consistent ‘core’ of 5-6 players who regularly feature in the national team and that play in their regular positions.
5. Select tactics that are employed by the clubs most represented in the national team.

If this approach had been adopted by Ventura, Italy would probably not be in the quandary that they are in now. Win or lose on Monday, Ventura has to go. He lacks both the knowledge, strength and the personality to lead Italy through these troubled times.
on the 12th November, 2017 at 1:53pm

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