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Wednesday November 15 2017
A new Azzurri dawn

The best way to deal with Italy’s painful failure to qualify for the World Cup is to concentrate on change for the future, writes Chloe Beresford.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that,” goes the famous Martin Luther King Junior quote. Of course, he was referring to matters much more serious than football, but there are still lessons to be learned from his wisdom in all walks of life.

The Italian national team experienced one of its darkest days on Monday evening at San Siro, failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after a 1-0 defeat to Sweden over two legs. As if that wasn’t quite enough for the Azzurri fans to take, stalwarts Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele De Rossi, Andrea Barzagli and Gianluigi Buffon all retired from international football, the captain in floods of tears.

That those legendary players weren’t given the chance to play in one last World Cup was a terrible shame, but what’s done is now done, and Italy must move forward in order to pull themselves out of the abyss that they have found themselves in.

As a first step on this journey back to prominence, removing Giampiero Ventura as CT is an absolute must. A million reasons why the former Torino man has been an abject failure in charge of the national team have already been covered in detail, and the bottom line is that his tenure is unsustainable.

Next must come the introduction of players that should have been in the starting line-up long ago. Lorenzo Insigne – inexplicably left on the bench at San Siro – now at 26 years old should be one of the very first names on the team-sheet, and so too must his Napoli compadre Jorginho. A look at the first half of that return leg showed what a difference the latter should have been making to the Azzurri, but instead he has been largely left at home along with the rest of us, pondering what could have been.

The likes of Stephan El Shaarawy and Federico Bernardeschi provide plenty of attacking options, and with the retirement of Buffon, Chiellini and Barzagli, Italy will now be forced to look at some of their many young alternatives in defence.

Mattia Caldara, Alessio Romagnoli and Daniele Rugani are just a few of those youngsters who are ready to make the leap to the first team, and the FIGC must now ensure that the right Coach is appointed to lead them. This should not be someone akin to Ventura, who promised to deploy the young players only to spectacularly ignore what he previously said.

Italy need a leader who is ready to revolutionise the squad, so that we will one day look back and realise that Monday night’s apocalypse had to happen in order for the side to start again and finally look to the future.

It has been this inability to let go of the past that has been hampering Italy in recent times, but there is no need and no excuse for half-hearted attempts to turn things around. The wounds are still very raw, but the Azzurri must hope that the light will start emerging from the darkness soon. 

Have your say...
Maldini said it all "same faces in 15 yrs". Yes change for better future starts from the Top then start working on the bottom "the basics". I would really love to see some of the true legends be in charge of the Italian Federation, where I believe Italy shall witness a positive change.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 2:50pm
Also as mentioned by Chris the too many friendly loses in the period he mentioned destroyed Azzurri's seeding ranking and led to being grouped with Spain. So have to play with the right attitude in the friendlies.

Various players need to be tried and given chance but there should not be changing formations every other match. Use the formation most of the best players can fit into.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 2:17pm
Overhaul of FIGC aside what is very very important is to get back the pride after the humiliation and hurt. For that the Nationale should not wait for the next official matches - which are the qualifiers for the next euros. The hurt and pain caused is going to last long. But to get back the pride and reduce the pain slightly they have to play every single friendly here on as an official match. Play well with intensity to win. Playing casually cannot be an option. (cont'd)
on the 15th November, 2017 at 2:00pm
PT 6 Youth isn't enough but it helps and it starts with the FIGC and them updating the Calcio system currently in place - Tavecchio needs to go, then a new President needs a clear plan and to pick a manager that is willing to stay for as long as needed for the good of Italy not their CV (Conte) with enough tactical knowledge (unlike ventura) and willing to build a team (unlike both) - as now its all about the future, a team for 5 years time at the WC22, with Euro20 an opportunity to build...
on the 15th November, 2017 at 1:08pm
Ancellotti will be hired and that will be it.No revolution.Those at the Italian FA will think by hiring him that this alone will solve the problem with our national side.Italian football needs a huge overall.We need new stadiums,less foreigners.Both will not happen.Ancellotti will do well so for a few years nothing will be done to change our football until the next failure when we will just talk again.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 1:07pm
PT 6 - Our 23 man squad should be selected from the following 33 players with the next World Cup in mind...

GK - Donnarumma, Meret, Scuffet, Perin, Audero,
CB - Romagnoli, Rugani, Caldara, Romagna, Pezzella
WB - Florenzi, Emerson, Conti, Calabria, Barecca, Di Marco,
MF - Veratti, Jorginho, Diawarra, Pellegrini, Locatelli, Gagliardini, Mandragora
WF - Berardi, Insigne, Chiesa, El Shaawary, Bernedeschi, Orsolini,
CF - Balotelli, Cutrone, Belotti, Pellegri, Kean
on the 15th November, 2017 at 12:57pm
Limit foreigners to 3 a side and enough. Serie B sides limit to 1 per team and none in and below Serie C. This will ensure the kids are played get experience and are well served. Our coaching should not be to teach other countries how to play.

2) Italy start taking world U17, U20 championships serious. Allowing the youngsters to get experience on the world stage. Big clubs to release their players.

3) All teams in Serie A to play a under 21 in their team.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 12:56pm
PT 5 The new Italy shouldn't have any average players or Veterans, no more Eder, Parolo, Darmian, Candreva (past it), Marchiso (too old unfortunately) Astori, Immobile Zaza, Montolivo, Gabbiadini. Our oldest players at the next world cup should be maximum 31 - Insigne / Balotelli / Florenzi, built around Veratti 29 and Jorginho 30, other than that all in their 20's perhaps a couple teens if they are good enough. I think Bonucci at 35 will be pointless. TBC
on the 15th November, 2017 at 12:45pm
PT 4 - We need to wake up and give young players a chance because by the time they get picked for us they are already haggard and less raw, Insigne has never had a proper run for us and he will be 29 at the next Euro! Caldara had better stats than BBC last season, goals, interceptions etc but didn't get a look in. Why wasn't Locatelli at least capped at 18 after scoring a flurry of wonder goals for Milan last season? Or Calabria with his brilliant patch. They need a chance to flourish TBC
on the 15th November, 2017 at 12:36pm
PT 3 we would have gone to the world cup with 10 over 30s - 5 being 33-40 - that isn't acceptable nor does it compare to our squads in the past. France Belgium Germany Brazil will accommodate youth. If Mabppe prior to becoming a big name was Italian he wouldn't be starting in Serie A for Juve nor would he be starting for Italy. Berardi should have been picked from 19 when he was setting records across Europe and scoring 4 and 3's in a game, instead we tried to convince Icardi to play for us? TBC
on the 15th November, 2017 at 12:28pm
PT 2 Age is an issue. 1982 to 2006 all squads have contained youth who actually get to play and only ever 4-6 over 30s (immediate 30s) Peruzzi 36 third choice GK 2006 and Baresi at 35 in 1994 were by far the oldest in this period. Young players are made when given the chance - at 18 we unleashed Bergomi as a CB in 1982 he played 3 games, Baresi was 22. 1988 Maldini 18, 1990 Baggio at 23 as world's most expensive player etc but in 2010 Lippi 2016 Conte, Ventura since, have not played youth TBC
on the 15th November, 2017 at 12:21pm
Part 2) We shouldn't be surprised that Conte only really fired up players Euro 16 - that's in his DNA. But surely the Federation have a responsibility to foresee, and avoid, the co-efficient consequence of a national team barely turning up in friendlies against minnows, or a coach fielding experimental teams that get steam-rolled by superpowers. We need a coach who will instill amongst players a determination to win every game -especially friendlies - as if it's their last.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 12:08pm
Part 1) Youngsters alone won't do it. What's needed is a total attitudinal change from the federation, coaches and players towards friendly fixtures. Why is no one talking about this? Tuesday's fate was pretty much sealed in our friendly defeat against Portugal in 2015 which followed draws with Luxumberg (2014) & Haiti (2013). Between Nov '14 - May '16 we didn't win a single friendly! This destroyed our seeding ranking, meaning we get grouped with Spain: it was a group we could never top.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 11:59am
PT 1 - Baggio Maldini Vieri were amazing (they would make our greatest squad / 11, Baggio being number 1) but they won nothing with Italy. Our winning team in 2006 had a mix, decent players with talented at peak age or many with their last chance to win - Del Piero 31, Totti 29, Nesta 30, Cannavaro 32, Gattuso 28, Pirlo 27, Grosso 28, Zambrotta 29, Buffon 28, Toni 29 - Lippi only selected 6 over 30s including third choice GK Peruzzi and super sub Inzaghi 32 - TBC
on the 15th November, 2017 at 11:55am
I think Tavecchio will stay, no revolution will take place, although there'll be lots of talk and empty promises, and next world cup we'll endure another disaster. So much needs to change and if it does it will be truly exciting but I can't see them doing anything about it. We should have changed things up after 2010 and here we are, continuing to decline. Three wasted World cups in a row.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 11:24am
Time for change. Get Zola, Vialli, Baggio into FICG a revolution is needed. Put Ancelotti has the CT he's the only one qualified enough and before Everton snap him up. He's won as a player and manager. Managed top sides, Juve, Milan, PSG, Chelsea, Bayern and Real Madrid. It would be a travesty if we lose him to club football.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 11:23am
Nothing will change until these two eggheads resign.

I'm honestly surprised at how arrogant they are. Specially Ventura. "I only lost 2 games". Yeah, the 2 most important ones, not the ones against Albania.
Plus, it's more about how the team was playing, lacking any direction, any clear game-plan, any grit, any spirit. A team of ghosts.

Once those two eggheads leave, we can talk about a new dawn.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 11:04am
FIGC has been a joke since the 2006 triumph. How long has it been since Italy have looked confident against the likes of Germany, France, Spain, Argentina and Brazil. The defenders need to be trained in the art of Italian defending. We need bold and inventive CT's. The mid-field should be expert in through balls and set pieces. Our strikers fast, fearless and accurate. Passes should be crisp. The Italian psychology is one of fear and capitulation. Prandelli and Conte did well at the Euro's.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 10:19am
I for 1 am glad Italy are out. I simply could not have coped with another 1st round exit making it 3 in a row and we would be knocked out. This side is not the 'italy always scrape a win' side, surprising us by arriving in the finals. Which makes me also wonder...are our youth really at WC level? I dont think so. I cant see any magic in these players.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 10:10am
I dare to say nothing will change as long as Tavechio, Ventura and Co is still there
on the 15th November, 2017 at 9:49am
Usually we have this dissapointment in the summer following a tournamnet exit with no football to follow for a month or so.It is only December and we are in the middle of a league season.I hope the attention of the Italian media does not quickly shift to club football and they forget to put pressure on the reforms needed and the sackings needed.I fear however their focus will change very quickly.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 9:49am
I remember I think it was after the 2010 world cup and a bunch of our players retired and we had to start again.It was strange to see the Azzurri with a bunch of our big time players gone.Now the same is happening.We are supposed to start again with a young team,with only one or two older experienced players and assume we have quality young players to come through.What is this belief that if you go with youth you will succeed.You need a mix of both.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 9:46am
It is the previous generation which ultimately led to italy failures in recent tournaments. The likes of balotelli giovinco acquafresca cerci poli cigarini dessena abate criscito motta bocchetti ranocchia under achieving for one reason or another. This is why italy is open to players like eder featuring in the national side and why they dependent on youngsters of veterans to get the results. There was a host of players who have struggled to get first team club football playing for italy.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 9:22am
I agree with every word written here .... it's time for youth and we are lucky to have a new generation ready to step forward. Forza Azzurri
on the 15th November, 2017 at 8:59am
Part 3 - Spaletti or Simone Inzaghi get the job. Some proven winners there who will play better football and have had some success at club level, some with clubs abroad too. We'll be back, look at Germany and Spain 10-15 years ago as an example. Not qualifying could be a blessing in disguise to force the changes that are well over due. Italy will return, Forza Italia.
on the 15th November, 2017 at 8:27am
Part 2- Romangnoli, Caldara, Zappacosta, Spinazolla, Perin, Scuffet, Cutrone, Lapadula, Sansone, Benassi and a long list of others as poor players not fit enough to wear the shift. All players good enough that could have given Spain a better game in the 3-0 defeat and who could have seen us through the play off. Comes down to a clueless manager who for some strange unknown reason refused to pick the right players and adapt his poor tactics. I'd like to see either Ancelotti, Allegri, Sarri (TBC)
on the 15th November, 2017 at 8:26am
Part 1- Mostly wrong players selected and wrong tactics used throughout Ventura's reign, but saying that, we still had plenty of good enough players to see us through the play off, regardless of who we faced. Everyone expected Spain to win the group, OK fine, but we should have qualified via the play off. Gone are the days of Maldini, Nesta, Cannavaro, Del Piero, Vieri, Baggio, Totti and going further back to the 70's-80's. But, I wouldn't class Veratti, Florenzi, Insigne, Jorgingo, Rugani (TBC)
on the 15th November, 2017 at 8:26am

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