As you may have heard, Italy came up short in their attempts to reach the 2018 World Cup after failing to breach Sweden’s defence in the second leg of their play-off at the San Siro on Monday night.
The Azzurri racked up 76% of the possession and mustered 27 shots as they grew increasingly desperate, but still the evening ended with Gianluigi Buffon weeping down the camera like a grieving walrus – his magisterial 20-year, 175-cap international career petering out with the most meagre of dull splutters.
Focus (and no small amount of blame) instantly shifted to Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura, whose name most people still have to double-check.
The ex-Torino coach has looked out of his depth at times, an over-arching feeling exacerbated by the sight of his players having to give his coaches tactical assistance…
— Valerio Curcio (@ValerioCurcio) November 13, 2017
After being told to warm-up, substitute Daniele De Rossi apparently can be seen here seething “We need to win, not draw” and then pointing up the bench to Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne.
De Rossi then retired from international football immediately after the match.
On that subject, it was widely reported that Ventura had also stepped down in the wake of Italy’s demise, but the cold light of day has bought with it counter reports that the 69-year-old is refusing to budge – at least not yet (via Associated Press).
I’m not resigning because I haven’t spoken with the (Italian Football Federation) president. We need to evaluate things.
We’ll see. I’ll talk with the federation and confront the problem.
Ventura also said that he felt compelled to “apologise to Italy” for the result in Milan.
Without wishing to be overly cynical, we’ll have a shiny shilling on that being his last official duty in office.