Italy sack Gian Piero Ventura after World Cup failure
Loss to Sweden in playoffs brings to an end 16-month reign of coach
Italy have sacked coach Gian Piero Ventura after the failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia. Photograph: Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Italy have sacked coach Gian Piero Ventura following their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The Italian Football Federation announced in a statement on Wednesday night that the 69-year-old’s 16-month reign was over.
Italy lost their play-off for a place in Russia next summer 1-0 on aggregate to Sweden, the first time since 1958 the Azzurri have failed to qualify for a World Cup.
The Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio said the decision to dismiss Ventura was taken at a meeting called by FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio.
The move was widely expected following Italy’s goalless draw with the Sweden in Milan on Monday.
Ventura, who had been under contract until 2020, declined to resign in the immediate aftermath of the match, but the FIGC has now taken the decision out of his hands.
He labelled the outcome of the playoff a “terrible result” and apologised to the Italian supporters.
Ventura, a journeyman coach who had most recently spent five years in charge of Torino, took over from Antonio Conte as national team boss following their penalty shoot-out defeat to Germany in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
He had to get the better of Spain to secure automatic qualification for the World Cup, though, a task which proved too tough as Italy finished the group five points behind their rivals.
But it is the two games against Sweden, a side ranked 10 places below Italy, which have cost him his job.