Italy Manager Gian Piero Ventura Resigns After Failing to Reach 2018 World Cup

Gian Piero Ventura has reportedly announced his resignation from Italy’s managerial role after a 0-0 draw against Sweden on Monday saw his side fail to qualify for the finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

A 1-0 win in the first leg meant Sweden won the fixture on aggregate, and Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol tweeted after the result that Ventura was no longer at the helm.

While the Swedes will feature in their first World Cup since 2006, Italy—who won the tournament that year—will be absent for the first time since 1958.

Italian football pundit James Horncastle said Ventura left without even speaking to the media, while the Guardian’s Serie A expert Fabrizio Romano gave a damning assessment of the tactician and his time in charge:

Italy were in the World Cup UEFA play-offs after finishing second to 2010 world champions Spain in their Group, but a limp effort across both legs of their clash with Sweden has left the team in disarray.

Romano also provided footage of an emotional Gianluigi Buffon welling up as he spoke to reporters after the loss, and the long-standing national team goalkeeper said:

Ventura will leave the Azzurri having won nine of his 16 matches in charge of the team, and competitive defeats to Spain and Sweden have ultimately had a telling impact on the side’s fortunes.

Despite the shock of Italy’s failure to make it to the World Cup, beIN Sports broadcaster Matteo Bonetti argued Monday’s events shouldn’t be that much of a surprise:

Ventura is a journeyman of the Italian league system and has managed Serie A outfits such as Napoli, Torino, Udinese and Sampdoria in the past, although a Serie C1 title win with Lecce in 1996 remains his greatest success.