Tuesday November 14 2017
Ventura entirely to blame

Italy are out of the World Cup for the first time in 60 years and Adam Digby lays the blame squarely at the feet of Coach Giampiero Ventura.

For the first time since 1958, Italy will not be at the World Cup finals. After a qualification campaign that never saw them look confident or cohesive, the Azzurri will spend next summer watching the tournament on television. As they do so, the players will reflect on their part in what has undoubtedly been one of the worst two-year stints in the history of a proud national team of one of the game’s most prominent footballing countries.

Before looking at the sorry state in to which Calcio has descended, let us take a moment to praise the side which ultimately knocked Italy out. Without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden reinvented themselves as a well-organised, hard-working and energetic team who ran tirelessly to implement Janne Andersson’s tactical plan.

As a unit they held the Azzurri at bay for over 180 minutes, keeping calm and never letting a vociferously partisan San Siro affect them, the visitors looking in control even as their hosts poured forward with a passionate crowd roaring their approval.

But when all is said and done, the fact that a run of being present at 14 consecutive tournaments has come to an end has very little to do with the effort of the proud Scandinavians. Instead, the blame should be laid entirely at the feet of one man: Italy’s Commissario Tecnico Giampiero Ventura.

Forget the ridiculous complaints about foreign players damaging the development of homegrown Serie A talent. Forget penalty shouts for a foul on Matteo Darmian or even the shot-stopping heroics of Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen because, in truth, the work of the man on the sidelines hindered his team in almost every match of his tenure.

He arrived promising to bring through the exciting crop of attacking young players overlooked by his predecessor Antonio Conte and insisted his lack of success at club level would not affect his ability to lead the Azzurri. Yet Ventura failed summarily to do the former and, as time wore on, he also proved that the latter did influence his choices.

With time ticking away on Italy’s qualification hopes, the 69-year-old remained as cautious as you would expect from a man whose five previous jobs were with Messina, Hellas Verona, Pisa, Bari and Torino. The team ended the match with three central defenders on the pitch and with Lorenzo Insigne – arguably Serie A’s most in-form attacking player – as an unused substitute.

Napoli’s Jorginho finally made his full debut and shone in the first half, his passing the reason for the team’s best chances, as he showed why he should have been part of the squad long ago. His omission was baffling, but given that Ventura played just two central midfielders in Madrid against Spain, it was by no means his worst decision.

That suicidal 4-2-4 formation was overrun by La Furia Roja and left Italy to face the playoffs, where the Coach continued to make frankly ridiculous decisions and comments. In the first leg he sent on a bemused Insigne to play as a central midfielder, only to express his “surprise” at the physical approach of Sweden, something any casual observer of the sport would have fully expected.

The only hope was that the players would manage to overturn the result in spite of his errors, but it proved impossible and now Italy must face the reality of just how far they have fallen. If nothing else, Ventura’s time in charge must serve as a warning of what can happen with the wrong man at the helm.

Those tasked with rebuilding the national team must recognise that this failure has brought an unacceptable and unforgivable end to Gigi Buffon’s stellar international career, that a generation of players have to rediscover every quality that made the Azzurri a side to fear. They’ve got a long way to go.

Have your say...
There is plenty of blame to go around i agree ventura is totally at fault for Italy failure to qualify. Still there are other factors for years there has been a distinct quality gap in terms of players and managers in comparison to the generations before. In addition the institutionalized bureaucracy of FIGC which endlessly seems to appoint unsuitable candidates to important positions without relevant experience. In addition constantly focusing on foreign players rather than improving grass root
on the 14th November, 2017 at 9:47am
5 years before our players get the chance to play in a World Cup assuming we qualify for Qatar.Such a shame.Some will not be playing for Italy by then,others will be past their peak.Such a terrible waste.

Now some of our biggest stars have retired and we have to start again.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 9:33am
Quiz Time.
Question one: Name how many Italian players started in the first leg of As Roma vs Chelsea in this years CL group stage.
Question two: Name three GOOD replacements for the BBC?
Question three : Which Italian player has been the best, most skilfull, talented and patient player this year in Serie A and a manager was even told by his own player to bring this guy on and he never got a looking last night.
Question 4: From 2010 to 2017 what have Italy’s final out come been in each W/C.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 9:32am
Ventura of course has to go plus those who appointed him.We all knew we were up against it with him in charge.We have the players,of course we do and although it was always going to be tough with Spain we should always go through against Sweden.

Sadly there will be no revolution in Italian football.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 9:30am
Why has ventura not left? Why was he not sacked the second that whistle went. The darkest day in Italian football history and the sole reason we are in this mess is still classed as our manager.
First thing sack this absolute tool and the rest of his bosses.
Immediately put in place a cap on how many foreigners 1 team can put on the pitch.
Start the project by the end of the season. We must prepare ourselves for more pain. Short term pain long term gain.
Things need to change and NOW
on the 14th November, 2017 at 8:55am
Italy 10th in Elo ranking lost to 19th Sweden. This kind of shit happens in football. Italian coach was disastrous.
1 Brazil
2 Germany
3 Spain
4 Argentina
5 Portugal
6 France
7 England
8 Belgium
9 Colombia
10 Italy
11 Netherlands
12 Uruguay
12 Peru
14 Switzerland
15 Chile
16 Croatia
17 Mexico
18 Poland
19 Sweden
20 Iceland
on the 14th November, 2017 at 8:44am
Is Ventura's Italy the Southampton of the world?
on the 14th November, 2017 at 8:17am
How do you say 'seppuku' in Italian? Daoes he have any remains of honour?
on the 14th November, 2017 at 8:15am
With everything that's been said, nothing was done. It was the beginning of the end since that fated game in Madrid, and once again nothing was done. To the players who retired, perhaps you could have accepted your limitations earlier and not claim ownership of this campaign. To Ventura, after those post-match comments I'd watch my back if I were you.

To Tavecchio, it's the nation's fault that you're still in your position. A world cup campaign is too good for you.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 8:12am
This is for the better. Even if Italy qualified they'd be thrown out on the group stage again as long as Ventura's still in charge.

What disgusts me the most is Ventura's comments. Not only he was delusional the guy doesn't even seem sorry or felt responsible for the failure. How someone can be that stubborn is beyond my human understanding.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 8:01am
Being a Russian who aways supported Azzurri (and a loyal Juve fan since 1994) I have to say that I am beyond being simply mad and frustrated right now. That old guy (how did he end up coaching Italian squad in the first place?) crashed my hopes to Buffon in my home country next summer! What was he thinking benching Insigne and Bernardeschi for most part? Gabbiadini? Florenzi? Darmian? Are you f..king kidding us? I am very, very saddened not see GiGi and thousands of beautiful and fun Italians(((
on the 14th November, 2017 at 7:56am
Che vergogna! What a shame! I never forget the view of crying Buffon and DDR. On the other hand this could be right impulse for complete changing of Italian system. Something ends, something begins.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 7:54am
it speaks volumes when you can't score in over 180 minutes of play to second rate team like Sweden.
I said right back in 2006 after world cup,changes needed to be made THEN, but no the vehicle of Italy has coughed and spluttered all the way to the scrap yard. time to rebuild throughout...figc has been run by Gerry atrics long enough...retirement home beckons signor Ventura, tevechio
on the 14th November, 2017 at 6:37am
DISASTER ! I said it at the beginning when they appointed Ventura , bad bad bad! He ruin Verona, Bari, Torino and now the Nation. He had no style, tactics, how they even gave this guy a job, he needs to leave football altogether..FIGC needs IS A COMPLETE OVERHAUL!
on the 14th November, 2017 at 6:16am
It's been downhill in quality for the most part since 2006 trophy. Italy never looked strong enough to qualify out of group and qualification was always laborious. And all of it culminating in this epic failure... Now, it's time to rebuild because there is nothing at stake anymore. Now is the time to rebuild from ground up (or from top down with FIGC). Focus on youth development and limit the number of foreign players in Serie A. Ventura who was supposed to promote the youth, did anything but...
on the 14th November, 2017 at 5:26am
well,appointing ventura to be the c.t of italia is greatest mistake ever made in this century. come on,italia produces best coach in the world no doubt about it,but why they choose ventura. which is his biggest club is torino,come on even strama better than him.well,at least he ever coached one of the biggest clu b in italia. italia played with no creativity,gabiandini? why him? why starting him? eder or belotti are better than him
on the 14th November, 2017 at 3:46am
Hauntingly ironic. DeRossi himself telling the coaching staff they needed goals to win not a draw and pointing to Insigne. After all these years watching him play,generally solid but never a creative attacking threat, those are the last words I will remember him by. Since 2006 I have watched Italy play but struggle to create and score. They've had moments here and there but the problems remained. I hope Italian coaches and players will reflect on his last words moving forward and understand them
on the 14th November, 2017 at 3:34am
Hauntingly ironic. DeRossi himself telling the coaching staff they needed goals to win not a draw and pointing to Insigne. After all these years watching him play,generally solid but never a creative attacking threat, those are the last words I will remember him by. Since 2006 I have watched Italy play but struggle to create and score. They've had moments here and there but the problems remained. I hope Italian coaches and players will reflect on his last words moving forward and understand them
on the 14th November, 2017 at 3:33am
"I apologise only for the result". Words that can only be spoken by the worlds biggest loser. What a disgrace. A coach who put himself above all else. His errogance is beyond words. Italy are the only national team that would field several players who cannot start for their club teams. I love Bernardeschi, but anyone dumb enough to go to Juventus knowing you will never play should never wear the Italian sweater. Jorghino, Barzagli,El Shaarawy are not first choices on their club teams.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 3:32am
I say bring Sarri :)!!
on the 14th November, 2017 at 3:15am
Italy has zero identity... Throw out everyone at the FIGC, implement Sarrismo throughout the whole national team set up, and start building something beautiful and successful again. SARRI FOOTBALL FOR THE NATIONAL TEAM
on the 14th November, 2017 at 3:13am
Bring the firing squad. The guy deserves nothing else.

on the 14th November, 2017 at 3:06am
Well back to the Euro's in 2 yrs THAT IS IF WE QUALIFY FOLK'S.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 2:46am
Those complaining about foreign players are misguided. Italia population 60M, Argentina 44M. Argentina league is weak and Argentina are #1 exporter of players in world. Yet compare quality of both countries' talent. Few current Italy players could even start for the Albiceleste, definitely no strikers.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 2:43am
ciao amici!
on the behalf of all Italians I would like to thank Ventura for crushing our hopes!!! also want to present him with the most STUPID COACH OFF ALL TIME!
your stubbornness is beyond the words!
not using INSIGNE was really costly!
the 3-5-2 formation did not work why use it twice???
anyway it only take's another 4 YEARS to wait!
forza azzurri!
on the 14th November, 2017 at 2:33am
Time to take a page from the German handbook and revamp the whole system that the Germans implemented after 2006,Plus also an honorable mention to Spain which rely on youth academy players from a young age,Aka 8 yrs and up to be molded year in year out till the ripe old ages of 15 yrs or 16 which their already world class and not to mention in their youth academies are taught to play short passing,Ball to foot quick lateral passing,and mostly not relying on long ball passing.Time to start over.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 2:28am
As if further evidence is needed of Ventura's disasterous leadership, consider that the Azzurri could not produce ONE GOAL in two legs against Sweden...
on the 14th November, 2017 at 2:19am
Demetrio Albertini as the new FIG C PRESIDENT,,,Roberto Baggio as the assistant director,,,Paolo Maldini as the head of the national youth Academy of Soccer,,,Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Cannavarro as the committee overseeing development at the legapro league all the way to primavera league and seria b league.This would be a great start in the absolute right direction.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 2:12am
Essentially the same group of players(were available) that Conte led to the Euro quarters. Clearly a moron can see what needs to be done. Ventura and Tavecchio a much too late - get out of here....
on the 14th November, 2017 at 2:11am
and another thing, there must be an emergency meeting with the owners of the teams to make the national team the utmost of importance. Not the $$ that comes from Europa or champions leages. If Germany figured it out in 2000, the Italians should as well, but likely not as they will blame the sprinkler system for the field, or the mascot.....
on the 14th November, 2017 at 2:09am

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