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Coach gone amid Italy World Cup fallout


Gian Piero Ventura is no longer Italy’s coach, the Italian football federation has confirmed two days after the national team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

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The FIGC (Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio) statement did not say if the 69-year-old Ventura was sacked or if he had resigned.

Italy were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Sweden in the second leg of their European play-off on Tuesday morning, Australian time, losing 1-0 on aggregate, and will miss the finals for the first time since 1958.

Meanwhile, FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio is set to stay in his post despite mounting pressure to resign, the ANSA news agency reported.

Damiano Tommasi, the head of the Italian footballers’ association, was quoted as saying: “Carlo Tavecchio has told us he does not intend to resign. (But) it is impossible not to start over with a new election.”

Instead, it said he would put forward “various proposals” at a forthcoming FIGC meeting, without giving further details.

Ventura replaced Antonio Conte following Euro 2016 and was initially given a two-year contract. In August, it was extended until the Euro 2020 tournament because the FIGC said it was happy with the team’s progress.

Ventura has never won a major title or coached top-tier teams such as AC Milan, Inter Milan or Juventus. He spent much of his career in the lower divisions, but enjoyed a long, steady career and had a reputation for nurturing young talent.

He also gained widespread respect following a five-year spell with Torino, when he led them out of Serie B and to several decent finishes in the middle and upper half of Serie A.

Italy finished second in their European qualifying group behind Spain, forcing them to play off against Sweden for a place in Russia.

Ventura was in charge for 17 games with 10 wins, four draws and three defeats.


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