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...
Well it happened, and in truth, it had to happen. not qualifying is what is needed to spark the change in Italian soccer. ventura needs to be fired immediately and so should tavecchio. Bring in maldini, baggio and cannavaro to take charge of the FIGC. Hire a good coach. There was no cohension, no unit, and very poor choices for the team. The fact that insigne did not start this game and Parolo did, shows how stubborn and incompetent Ventura was. This did not have to happen, but sadly had to.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 2:05am
I just want to know why tavecchio and ventura hasn't resigned yet. they are a disgraced
on the 14th November, 2017 at 2:03am
Ventura you have no clue, and are still pig headed enough to not even resign after that job the YOU did?? Even more scary are the so called higher ups that gave this idiot an extension on his contract. Of course, Ventura should be fired and sent to solitary confinement along with his embarrassing technical ideas so the never see the light of day again! but it cannot stop there, it has to include the idiots at the top as well!!!
on the 14th November, 2017 at 2:00am
A truly sad evening i mean Sweden really?. I'm trying to be all zen about this but it utterly sucks, unfortunately they I think this can be Italy's wake up call WF brings in cycles Germany 2000, Spain up until 2008, Brazil 2014, England 2016, and now this could be our turn to wake the hell up and change or end up like Holland. Also I'm glad the veterans are FINALLY callin it quits for what I heard they have been running the dressing room pratically choosing the back the 3 and MF to a point.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:56am
HOLD YOUR MISERABLE HEADS IN SHAME sTrAVECCHIO, UVA, sVENTURA AND ALL THOSE INCOMPETENT @ FIGC!!! "FAILURE IS AN INEVITABLE RESULT OF CORRUPTION" AS DEMONSTRATED BY THE ITALIAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS. Failure to implement regulations that promote Italian youth at all Italian clubs. Shame on the teams like Inter, Juve, Napoli, Lazio, Roma, Udinese for ignoring Italian youth you are just as much to blame as FIGC. MAJOR FIGC OVERHAUL AT THE VERY MINIMUM A MUST ASAP.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:56am
No shortage of blame. How is it Conte gets a pass for moving on to chase $$ after Euro? How about the Federation for hiring a career minor league manager. Tactics & player selections aside, I can't think of an Italian National Team coach with less personality.That said, he didn't hit the post, Darmian did. Sweden's goal didn't deflect off Ventura it deflected off DeRossi. He didn't miss Belotti's header early in Sweden. Much needs to be reflected upon at every level of Italian Calcio.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:53am
Ventura is a child, and he doesnt even stay true to his senile self. He waited until the very last chance to play Jorginho, he should've been integrated into the squad months/years ago. As an inter fan, other than parts of the first half where Jorginho was making moves through the middle, the rest of the games plan was (get ball to candreva, runs deep bottom right corner, skies the cross) basically Deboar's tactics from inter 16/17 season. Shameful.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:51am
If Barreca and Emerson Palmieri develop well then they can replace Spinazzola and Darmian on the left. Same goes for Pelligrini and Gagliardini with respect to Machisio and Bonaventura.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:37am
4 years ago while the scapegoating of Balotelli went on the Italian FA (totally unconnected of course) appointed an open racist as its head. He should never have got the job. Nor should a 70 year old manager with zero honours to his name (sorry Ventura won Serie C1 in 95/96). We need a total change at the top and reform throughout Serie A and the lower leagues to recover our competitiveness. This is the wake up call that we got 4 years ago.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:34am
We start again:

GK: Donnarumma (Perin, Meret)
Def: Conti (Florenzi), Caldara (Rugani), Romagnoli (Bonucci), Spinazzola (Darmian)
Mid: Jorginho (Locatelli), Verratti (Machisio), Barella (Bonaventura)
Fw: Berardi (Bernardeschi) Balotelli (Belotti), Insigne (SES)

No more Parolo, Eder, Immobile, Gabbiadini, and the like.

Finally the coach must be a winner. Hopefully it’s Ancelotti, but i’ll Accept Mancini.

Keep your heads up people.

Forza Italia!!!!!!!!!!
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:32am
In the last 4 years the likes of Insigne, Bernardeschi, Berardi, Jorginho, Romagnoli and Rugani have had their international careers restricted while they wait for the deadwood to move over. Another problem has of course been how uncompetitive Serie A has become and the reason for this lack of competitiveness is the farcical transfer market. Italian clubs transfer twice the number of players as English, Spanish and German clubs and nearly every transfer blocks or interrupts players’ growth.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:31am
Looks like he's hoping to stick around to make sure Italy miss out on Euro 2020 as well, HE JUST REFUSED TO RESIGN. I think Tavecchio is hiding behind this idiot, if it proves difficult -or at least not automatic- to push Ventura out the door even after this, the hope of wholesale changes at the higher level would look far fetched, the football community will have used all it's energy by the time he's gone and the talk of Tavecchio leaving will become secondary, god help us.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:31am
Balotelli’s career has gone downhill since then but Insigne has flourished. Still he can’t break into the old boys club. I was not someone who was impressed by Conte’s stint; rather than standing up to the senatori he played to their egos and the result was an Italy that played like under-dogs in the Euros. But still being Conte he managed to shout and scream enough to do just enough. Ventura basically took the same approach as Conte but without the shouting. It was never going to end well
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:30am
told ya..
before its too late sack ventura and appoint ancelotti immediately
now its all disaster
shame on you azzuri
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:28am
It’s all Balotelli’s fault. Insigne should’ve done more. The ref was mean. Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. The worst thing about scapegoating, apart from the bullying, is that you don’t learn from your mistakes. This has been coming since the 2014 debacle when the “senatori” blamed everyone but themselves for the failure; Balotelli was the obvious scapegoat but so was Prandelli and even Insigne. It’s not surprising that 4 years on neither player featured when it really mattered.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:28am
I told you Italian football was finished and a few mindless idiots was attacking me! Eggs on your faces now idiota’s! Where do we go from here? We don’t we have hit rock bottom. We have no quality whatsoever in the ranks and it’s all thanks to Galliani, Lotito, Tavecchio and Ventura! Our youth system is a shambles and we have no strategy going forward at all. Too many foreign players in Serie A killing our next generation of Italian kids to play. We have mediocre players coming through sad times
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:20am
Hmmmmm well all's fair in love and war. Now it's time for a major major major major overhaul. Tavecchio has to get sacked. In fact all the bloody old timers in FIGC should be given the pink slip. We need football legends like Maldini, Conte, Pirlo, Cannvarro and Nesta to run FIGC. These are men with integrity and brains. Good wake up call for Italy. Forza Italia! Forza Milan! Most important Serie A must start promoting young Italians - only Italians. Serie A has to be Italianised.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:19am
Players who are on the bench at club level, don't win games. Players who have just returned from injuries, don't win games. Players who are on their last legs, don't win games. Other than Spain, the qualifying group was straight forward. Why not give young talent game time against the minnows? Today's result is great news for Germany, Brazil, France, Spain and the like...
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:15am
4. and Pellegrini/Gagliardini. Obviously it's a dark moment but the future isn't as bleak as it might seem. The players are there and with the right manager this team will be competitive at the Euros. It's just a shame this time around we had Ventura at the helm.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:13am
Only Ventura to blame?? FIGC should also be blamed for appointing him!! Tavecchio and co must resign.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:11am
3. I don't care how many goals they score at club level, Immobile/Belloti aren't good enough. They're way to similar to play as a pair so at best should be upfront on there own with a wide forward either side (Lets not even bring up the Insigne debate). Ideally Kean or Pellegri will develop hugely over the next few seasons which means Immobile/Belloti can become 3rd/4th choice. Jorginho looked bright but every man and his dog knew he would be good so hopefully he links well with verrati...
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:11am
2. The ball gets played wide and they don't have the pace or skill to take on there man, nor do they have the ability to cross wit their weaker foot so they end up turning back and passing backwards or sideways by which point the opposition are back and set up to defend. I actually felt sorry for Darmian, he was one of the better players over both legs but he's just not a threat in that formation. I pray that Bareca or Emerson turn out to be good enough to provide that attacking width. Next....
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:06am
Ventura's undeserved arrogance cost the nation a World Cup place. Bernardeschi summed it up best post match.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:06am
I knew this was going to happen and I predicted it. I'm speechless. Nothing to say but blame it on the coach and to some extend, to some of the players. In realty its a blessing because we knew they would of never gotten past the group stage. The Federation needs to reorganize itself and start from the beginning with a competent coach and players who really want to wear the shirt no matter if there all Italian, by ancestry or by birth.....Good luck to the Azzurri. I will always love them!!!!!
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:04am
FIGC demonstrated a classic senior management response to any crisis. Ignore the grass roots, be risk averse and appoint a 'yes-man' manager to direct the blame on to. Ventura is a red-herring that convinced no one from day one. Conte showed potential of an average squad last year, it was upto FIGC to develop a clear vision with the right coach, align leagues and make investment in young Italians viable for clubs. They chose the easy way out and paid for it.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:04am
worst Italian team i have seen,players cant cross a ball,the federation is full of old bureaucrats that are living in the stone age who then picks a manager whos tactics are still in the 80s,managers have eras and his has long gone,youth players are useless and sluggish,Italy youth teams do not win anything anymore,pathetic performance by a team and manager that makes graham Taylor look like alex ferguson
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:04am
1. This result has left me feeling empty and I am already dreading this summers world cup. The tactical failings in both legs were just unacceptable, why do Italy insist on playing a naturally right footed player on the left wing!? Darmian, De Sciglio, Santon, Spinazzola, they're all decent players but none of them are left footed which is crucial if playing wing backs. It's the same old story....
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:03am
Giampiero "I am not thinking about Sweden, but already the group stage" Ventura deserves no sympathy.

However, the blame goes deeper. Tavecchio is an old, racist, white collar criminal who has no experience in football. In a functioning FIGC/political system, he would never have been elected.

So gutted. Italians deserve better, the fans deserve better, but above all, Buffon deserved better.
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:01am
Distraught, gutted, speechless,.... and Ventura won’t resign. Silence from the FIGC cos they know it was their mistake. They’re all to blame but this has been coming since the spain debacle. Utter shambles and it has come to this! Only hope now is that in the cold light of day someone, somewhere realises the utter nonsensity of hiring Ventura and appoint Ancelotti no matter the cost. Someone who has done it all. What a shambles! Nearly in tears. My dear azzurri reduced to this!
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:00am
The failure that is Ventura is inseparable from the failure that is Tavecchio. Tavecchio --preoccupied with feeble, outdated prejudices-- is the man who placed Ventura in a position everyone knew from Day One was beyond his ability. Italy must CLEAN HOUSE and install new, forward looking leadership top to bottom!
on the 14th November, 2017 at 1:00am

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