November 14, 2017 / 11:09 AM / a year ago

Italy to discuss Ventura future on Wednesday

MILAN (Reuters - Italy’s football federation (FIGC) will meet on Wednesday to discuss the future of coach Gian Piero Ventura following their astonishing failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Italy vs Sweden - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 13, 2017 Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura before the match REUTERS/Max Rossi

FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio said a “shared solution” was necessary after Italy’s first failure to qualify since 1958, following their 1-0 aggregate defeat to Sweden in a two-leg playoff.

“We are deeply bitter and disappointed over the failure to qualify for the World Cup, it is a sporting failure that needs a shared solution,” said Tavecchio in an FIGC statement.

“For this reason I called a meeting tomorrow... to conduct a thorough analysis and decide on future choices.”

Ventura, whose contract was extended in August to run until the Euro 2020 tournament, refused to step down immediately after the 0-0 draw against Sweden on Monday.

The 69-year-old - the oldest man ever to coach Italy - was described by Tavecchio as a “master of football” when he replaced Antonio 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 them out of Serie B and to several respectable finishes in the middle and upper half of Serie A.

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

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

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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