The missing out of Italian national team from the 2018 FIFA World Cup could be described as â€˜â€™How are the Mighty fallenâ€¦â€™â€™ after 60 years of continued participations. The 2006 FIFA World Cup Champions was sent parking when they suffered 0-1 defeat by Sweden.
The President of Italian Football Federation, Carlo Tavecchio had defined the prospect of Italyâ€™s mission out on the 2018 World Cup as a disaster of biblical proportions.
Their poor performances was blamed on the National Coach, Gian Piero Ventura whom they blamed on his odd tactics, player unrest and lack of talent condemn Azzurri to Cup ignominy.
Now the worst has come to pass, with the Azzurri failing to qualify for football’s showpiece event for the first time in 60 years after losing their play-off tie with Sweden 0-1 on aggregate on Monday. All that remains for a proud football nation is to analyse where it went wrong.
A partial answer could be found on the pitch at San Siro. Italy dominated with more than 75 per cent of possession, yet lacked the subtlety to unpick a packed defence, pumping crosses into a penalty area where their opponents held a clear height advantage.
A lack of nuance in the final third has been a problem for a team that have scored just three times in their last six competitive fixtures.
AZZURRI TRIED THEIR BEST
I apologise for the result, yes, but not for the effort and hard work. Tonight’s game showed that there was nothing broken in the national team.
, Italy coach, on apologising only for the result.
TURNING THE TIDE
Perhaps we didn’t express the best football that we could, that is the regret. When incidents go badly for you, it’s probably your own fault too and if it goes well, you earned your luck.
GIANLUIGI BUFFON, Italy goalkeeper, who has announced his retirement from international football.
MUMMIES RUN ITALIAN FOOTBALL
Guys, we didn’t lose the World Cup today. We lost it 15 years ago when thanks to incredible cashing in by those in the football world, Italy brought in flops from every area of the world to unfairly steal places from our lads… Goodbye to the mummies who control Italian football.
PAOLO CANNAVARO, younger brother of 2006 World Cup-winning captain Fabio, blaming Italy’s qualifying failure on the Italian Football Federation and foreigners playing in Serie A.
Insigne is in the prime of his career, having scored 18 league goals from the left wing for Napoli last season. The 26-year-old is the only Italian valued at over â‚¬100 million (S$160 million) by the CIES football observatory, and yet never made it onto the pitch on Monday – after making only the briefest of cameos in the first leg.
Nobody who has followed Ventura’s career could even be all that surprised. It is not that he underrates Insigne so much as that the coach is extraordinarily rigid in his selection process – a man fixated on square pegs and square holes.
Insigne is a wide forward and Italy were lined up in a 3-5-2. Therefore, there was no space available.
Italy were fluid under Antonio Conte, a dynamic shape-shifting collective. Under Ventura, the connections between defence, midfield and attack have all but disappeared.
The fact that players felt compelled to meet without him after the 1-1 draw at home to Macedonia might suggest a lack of faith in his ability to lead them. Ventura’s coaching CV was always a modest one, when compared to his predecessors.
Ventura was 68 when he took the job, and was perceived to have the right temperament. That he was not up to this task, in hindsight, is clear. Italy’s talent pool has dwindled since their 2006 World Cup win and yet Ventura had more to work with than Conte before him.
The likes of Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti have blossomed at club level in the last 18 months. It is unforgivable that Insigne’s club-mate Jorginho, a key pillar of the Napoli team leading Serie A, had not made his competitive debut for Italy before Monday.
Which is not to say that all blame should be placed on one man’s shoulders. Ventura will doubtless be removed from his post, but whether or not a similar fate awaits the men who appointed him remains to be seen.
www.sojworld.com Â© November 15, 2017