Sunday November 12 2017
Can Jorginho rescue Italy?

Italy look set to finally give Jorginho his competitive debut in the most dire of circumstances, writes Marco D’Onofrio.

It is utterly ridiculous that Giampiero Ventura waited a year and a half into his tenure with the national team to call-up Jorginho, and even more embarrassing that he opted to play Lorenzo Insigne in the midfield in the second half of Friday’s 1-0 World Cup play-off defeat to Sweden instead of Europe's most accurate passer.

The tactician was so adamant though that he didn't require a 'regista' that now with the threat of the Italians missing out on the game's most prestigious tournament for the first time since 1958, he needs the Napoli man more than ever.

Looking for a little divine intervention, Ventura knows the reputations of both the country and himself will be on the line when the Azzurri take the pitch on Monday for the critical showdown against Sweden. With no other option than to get the job done, the tactician may need to finally listen to his plethora of critics and utilise one of the best midfielders on the peninsula – especially with Marco Verratti out suspended.

Jorginho was hugely influential for a Napoli side that finished with 94 goals in the Italian top flight last year – four more than any other team – and they are on pace to find the back of the net even more frequently this season, as they currently sit atop the table. The 25-year-old has captivated onlookers across Europe for his pristine passing accuracy, frequently completing more than 150 passes in a single game for his club side.    

But why would the Italians need a player like that anyway?

Against Sweden, the midfield trio of Verratti, Daniele De Rossi, and Marco Parolo were unable to provide the much-needed creative spark that was expected from them. Instead, they looked lacklustre and visionless. This is not completely their fault though, as the direction given from their Coach often seemed muddled at best. Insigne was asked to replace Verratti off the bench, but looked out of place and confused playing in a position that he was not accustomed to.

Jorginho could help to unlock a Swedish side that will surely look to come to San Siro and batten down the hatches. Confident after their clean sheet in the first leg, the Swedes know that they can bully the Azzurri with their size advantage and that an away goal could be all they need to book their spot on the plane to Russia next summer.

The Azzurri will need to score goals – multiple goals – and while Jorginho only has one himself this season, he could be the man to lift his teammates when they need it the most.

While it is unfortunate that Jorginho may finally get the shot he deserves in the most desperate of circumstances, it is still better now than never. It has become abundantly clear that after the loss to Spain in Madrid, Ventura should have experimented with the Napoli midfielder for the final two group matches against Macedonia and Albania with not too much left to play for - they needed to secure their spot in the World Cup qualifying play-off, but that never should have been a problem given the inferior opposition they were up against.

With every game that passes under the Ventura regime, it becomes increasingly evident that Italy lack an identity and cohesive game plan. While Jorginho isn't the saviour, he could be the maestro that the Italians have missed since the days of Andrea Pirlo.

Jorginho finally getting the nod in Ventura's starting XI on Monday may still not be enough for the Azzurri to escape from the dire situation they find themselves in, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

Have your say...
Correction on my previous quote about the 424 formation in the previous latter stages of the tournament between Spain,Israel and Macedonia about Ventura using this 424 formation that bore no fruition but angst and anger amongst tifosi's and also pundits alike not to mention the players themselves.,And also a SHOUT OUT! to Daniele DeRossi for refuting to go on in the dire last minutes defying Ventura's orders and saying let Insigne go in because we need a win not a tie.ALL IN ALL END OF AN ERA.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:41am
on the 13th November, 2017 at 11:25pm
@Anonymous: Italian blood is defined by Italian nationality law. It's not me making up a term, it's literally Italian law. The law itself is called jus sanguinis (Latin for the law of blood). If you don't like it, acquire citizenship and try to change it. It'll be easier for you to do it than anyone not of Italian blood born in Italy lol
on the 13th November, 2017 at 6:48pm
"I am sorry to say that if Italy do qualify Ventura will be kept on. No new coach is going to take over a team with 7 months left to the finals."

It would not be that difficult. Some managers in the past have had less time. The ingredients are there, we just need a good tactician with ideas and courage.

Luca Cigarini, Bonaventura, Florenzi, Giaccherini perhaps, these are good and we must work with them for the midfield.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 6:43pm
"Kean and Adjapong, Ogbonna"

These surnames are not even Italic or Latin!

Jorginho? Change your name to Giorgino, if he wants it that badly.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 6:40pm
Reading through the comments, I wondered for a second if I was actually at rather than a football blog.

Anyway, I hope that Jorginho will help Italy tonight despite the immense pressure on his shoulders.

I would rather we play with a 4-3-3 though, with Florenzi as a right back rather than a midfielder. While SES will join Insigne and Immobile up front.

But even if we qualify tonight, Ventura and Tavecchio need to hit the road. Though I doubt the latter will do.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 5:08pm
I am sorry to say that if Italy do qualify Ventura will be kept on. No new coach is going to take over a team with 7 months left to the finals. However, as soon as Italy's adventure comes to an end (in group stages I am guessing) he will either resign or will be sacked. FIGC have a lot to answer for appointing this incompetent, clueless man as the coach
on the 13th November, 2017 at 4:21pm
I am sorry to say that if Italy do qualify Ventura will be kept on. No new coach is going to take over a team with 7 months left to the finals. However, as soon as Italy's adventure comes to an end (in group stages I am guessing) he will either resign or will be sacked. FIGC have a lot to answer for appointing this incompetent, clueless man as the coach
on the 13th November, 2017 at 4:15pm
With a name like "Anders" I'll assume you are Swedish.. so, what has Sweden ever done in this sport? Maybe a quarter final once? You will eat crow tonight..

Forza Italia

on the 13th November, 2017 at 3:48pm
@Pino, what exactly IS Italian blood? You do realize there is no such thing... Italy has been invaded by so many clans and civilizations, there is no such thing as "pure blood" Italian.. My mother is Neopolitan.. we are as pasty and blue-eyed as these Swedish players... My dad is from Reggio... our name has Greek origin (Magna Grecia)... The Visigoths, Vandals, Moroccans, Saracins... Italy is a nation of mutts!!

Forza Italia!!!
on the 13th November, 2017 at 3:46pm
If the coach plays 3-5-2 again tonight, regardless of result, he should go.

He's so stubborn, he won't change anything. All he probably did was asked the players if they're fit. So Belotti and DeRossi not fit, so he makes 2 changes, and then he replaces suspended Verratti. Did he not see how poor Parolo, Barzagli and Eder were?

He has to use El Shaarawy, Insigne, Bernardeschi, but he won't.

Even Allegri managing Juve and Italy together may be better than this nut.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 3:46pm
Jenks- Kean and Adjipong are Italian born nationals, who play for the under 19 team. Where you get this "West African Players" is beyond me.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 3:45pm
Italia 3 Vikings 0

Forza Italia!!!!!!
on the 13th November, 2017 at 3:35pm
This what happens when the federation from the start has weak very unproductive plans to hire the right CT & more develop the whole system. Italy the Azzurri which I adore is on brink of a humiliation! I would love to hear from Roberto Baggio who has warned long time ago that if the system does not improve a catastrophic phase shall witness the Italian Football. What I would like to see Italy qualifies to WC coz I cannot imagine a WC without Italy, then hire Ancelloti. Hopefully!
on the 13th November, 2017 at 2:42pm
2-2 again :)
Bye bye Italy, home to mam and cry again
on the 13th November, 2017 at 12:40pm
Italy would need Pirlo, DelPiero, Vieri and a balls of Matrix to take Sweden tonight. Jorginho or not Italy will not qualify just becose Sweden is good. They are tight and hardworking team with a hell of a spirit. This Italy has no spirit and manager is clueless and tactically beneath Swedens manager Andersson. This Italy generation is the worst ever. No stars and no leaders. It is time to rock the bottom and resurect till EC 2020.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 11:31am
Some better news today, what with Jorginho & Florenzi potentially starting in central midfield. We know what to expect with the Napoli player, but I think that Florenzi could be very useful in in this role as he is a dynamo who can bomb forward to support the attack. Most of our other CM players are so slow, static & like to sit back, so it's nice to see someone with different characteristics in there. It's come about through necessity (injuries/suspensions)rather than inspiration though.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 10:22am
The really sad thing about Italian football, is that players are not eased into teams, but are thrown into the deep end and are expected to perform miracles. Verratti was called Pirlo's heir and it has not aided him, especially since he has not been given the right players to perform with. Now Jorginho is expected to perform and be the saviour after a calamitous 1st leg.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 7:32am
@Jenks I've been a fan of Luca Cigarini for YEARS he is one of or if not TOP FIVE MIDS IN ITALY RIGHT NOW...its a real crime how this creative powerhouse of a player gets overlooked its beyond me.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 4:18am
We're in REAL trouble here. I don't think Ventura is totally to blame. We need to get rid of these old players, we need new young blood, we need hunger, we need passion, we need fearlessness! THE BBC is to blame too, they passed the ball around so much the never gave the ball to the midfield to try anything! Did you notice how many times Bonucci tried long balls, Di Rossi passed backwards & didnt even make a tackle, Darmain was playing as a wingback crossing. IT WAS A DISASTER.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 3:48am
Great article! 100% agree that Jorginho is needed. Better late than never!
on the 13th November, 2017 at 3:42am
"Mario Balotelli was born in Italy. Will you be clamoring against Moises Kean and Ajapong next? Quit your xenophobia."

Xenophobia? The only phobia YOU have is the one for native Italians.

Kean and Adjapong are West African players. We are not like France or England, where we have multi-generations of immigrants with a squad full of foreigners.

Be careful with the words you choose, paisan.
Jorginho won't do a thing tomorrow.
Too little too late.

I don't want you supporting us!
on the 13th November, 2017 at 3:30am
We definitely do not need 2 out and out strikers playing at the same time..what a handicap this's like playing with 1 man less and sometimes even 2 at times!
We need someone to link mid and attack.. a true attacking midfielder like Franco Vazquez of Sevilla in place of either Belotti or Immobile.
Oh and we can forget ever seeing a 4-3-3 whilst sVentura is in charge because he has NEVER used this formation at club or national level!
on the 13th November, 2017 at 2:31am
Only the players can save themselves from humiliation and do the right thing and retire. All average players. Where’s the Baggios gone? Maldinis? Scirea? Even bobo Vieri’s? Can’t produce any world class players anymore. Just a midget from Napoli who can’t hit a barn door. Only Gigi and De Rossi left that have any dignity and time has sadly caught up with them. Figc need to be investigated for crimes against the country. Farce!
on the 13th November, 2017 at 2:24am
There's no way a single player is gonna make a difference in this team let alone a regista like Jorginho. He would improve possession but that's a big if. There's no point playing him is Ventura's still gonna let Bonucci do all the long balls playmaking. Jorginho works best in a 4-3-3 anyway, he's been playing in that formation since his Verona days. Putting him in a 2 or 4 man midfield is just going to limit his usefulness and then Ventura will find some ways to blame him for the loss.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 2:16am
I just can't believe the starting 11, and again the 3-5-2 formation he is going to use. This coach is clearly out of his mind.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 1:58am
Italy will beat Sweden and fail to make it out of group stage in Russia.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 1:52am
@Jenks Well Brazil knows Jorginho, because they wanted to call him up to their squad in March.

As for questionable descent, I'd take a look in the mirror and realize that people in glass houses probably shouldn't throw stones. He's more Italian than you are, by ethnicity and culture (and by having lived in Italy for the last 9 years).
on the 13th November, 2017 at 12:45am
Ventura has does everything he can... to ruin this team.

It's now up to the 11 players on the pitch to out the nation on their backs. Whoever plays, Italy must go to the World Cup.

Regardless of the result, Tavecchio and Ventura must go.
Italy has an abundance of coaching talent. Hire a decent coach for 2018, the country needs a respectable showing.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 12:45am
@Mil_Int Unlike a lot of European countries and Canada and the US, simply being born in Italy isn't enough to guarantee you citizenship. If you don't have Italian blood you have to reside there for the first 18 years of your life uninterrupted, and then apply for citizenship (which can still be rejected). So is Balotelli an Italian "by letter of the law"? Yes, but he wasn't for the first 18 years of his life. It's not xenophobia, it's Italian nationality law.
on the 13th November, 2017 at 12:42am

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