Ventura doesn”t resign after Italy fails to make World Cup

The prevailing theme for Gian Piero Ventura’s run as Italy coach was that the 69-year-old journeyman manager was in far over his head.

Having never coached a major club before taking over the national team last year, Ventura covered himself in disgrace on Monday when four-time champion Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.

Ventura was widely criticized for poor tactical decisions before and after Sweden’s 1-0 aggregate win over the Azzurri.

After the scoreless draw in the second leg, it was a foregone conclusion he will be fired according to a contract stipulation in case of a failed qualification, unless he resigns.

“I’m not resigning because I haven’t spoken with the (federation) president,” Ventura said. “We need to evaluate things. We’ll see. I’ll talk with the federation and confront the problem.

“I feel I have to apologize to Italians for the result.”

Ventura’s expected ouster will come in sharp contrast to his predecessor, Antonio Conte.

Conte was lauded for getting the most out of Italy before the Azzurri lost on penalties to Germany in the quarterfinals of last year’s European Championship.

When Conte departed for Chelsea after Euro 2016, Ventura was given the crowning job on a career that had seen him coach the likes of Pisa, Bari, and Torino.

“I’ve been in football many years so I know how to accept it,” Ventura said of the failed qualification. “I’m honored to have been a part of the national team and to have worked with great champions and with others that I hope will become great.

“I’m upset because tonight I understood the significance of coaching the national team.”

Ventura’s attachment to two forwards he coached at Torino, Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti, and his refusal to try a three-striker formation, led him to continually leave Napoli winger Lorenzo Insigne on the bench.

Considered Italy’s most talented player of the moment, Insigne was inexplicably asked to come on for Marco Verratti in a central midfield position late in the opening leg against Sweden.

Likewise, winger Stephan El Shaarawy was given little playing time despite a show of solid form at Roma that included a brace against Conte’s Chelsea in the Champions League.

“We showed few ideas and not much in the way of tactics,” said veteran midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who retired from the national team after the playoff.

Late in the second leg, De Rossi argued with Ventura’s staff when they asked him to warm up. He later suggested he thought Insigne or someone else should enter.

“If I offended anyone I’m sorry,” De Rossi said.

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