Coach Ventura's status still in question after Italy eliminated

AP
Ventura's contract was recently extended to 2020 but the deal includes a stipulation that it could be voided in case of a failed qualification.
AP

The status of Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura remained in question after the four-time champion failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.

Ventura said after Monday's 0-1 aggregate loss to Sweden that he hadn't resigned because he hadn't discussed it with federation president Carlo Tavecchio.

On Tuesday, Tavecchio said he was calling a meeting for Wednesday to put together "an in-depth analysis and decide on choices for the future".

Ventura's contract was recently extended to 2020 but the deal includes a stipulation that it could be voided in case of a failed qualification.

Italy was eliminated after a scoreless draw against Sweden on Monday.

Previous Italy coach Antonio Conte, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini and Massimiliano Allegri were being mentioned as possible replacements.

Tavecchio's status was also put into question by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago, who oversees all sports in the country.

"I spoke with Tavecchio and I asked him what his intentions were and he told me that tomorrow there will be this meeting in the federation," Malago said. "As you know, it's up to the boss to take responsibility but if I were him I would resign."

There is a precedent since both Giancarlo Abete, the previous federation president, and coach Cesare Prandelli each resigned immediately after Italy was eliminated in the first round of the 2014 World Cup.

Ventura, whose contract was extended in August to run until the Euro 2020 tournament, refused to step down immediately after the draw against Sweden on Monday, Reuters reported.

The 69-year-old — the oldest man ever to coach Italy — was described by Tavecchio as a "master of football" when he replaced Conte following Euro 2016 and was initially given a two-year contract.

Ventura has never won a major title or coached any of AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus and has spent much of his career in the lower divisions.

However, he has enjoyed a long, steady career in Italy and has a reputation for nurturing young talent.

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

Italy finished second in its European qualifying group behind Spain, forcing it to face Sweden for a place in Russia.

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

AFP

Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura looks on prior to the 2018 World Cup playoff second leg against Sweden at the San Siro stadium in Milan on November 13, 2017.

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