Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Monday, November 13, 2017

Stunned: Italy Fails To Qualify For World Cup For First Time Since 1958

Like so many dedicated fans of the Azzurri, I was left disappointed (but not surprised) by their inability to qualify for the World Cup. In fact, I admit I never thought I'd see this day. Sure, poor performances happen but not to not qualify?

It's actually quite a seismic event.

Italy is a soccer power on par with Brazil, Germany and Argentina historically. To not see them in is surreal as it is irritating. The image of this great soccer nation has been hit no doubt about it. Now, they're not even on current par with great sides like Belgium, Portugal, France, Spain and - gulp! - England.

Instead, Italy finds itself on the sidelines along with another power that lost its way in The Netherlands. And even the United States who were a fairly consistent performer until this campaign. And let's not forget Argentina barely qualified despite their talent.

The question is, what will they do about it?

At this point, the look to the future begins now but this means the main 'mummies' as Paolo Cannavaro put it running the FIGC must be removed. First order of business is to get to Euro.

Beyond this, I'm not overly confident in what's in the development system and the work of Di Biagio at the U-21 level. So I expect things to continue like this before it gets better. Unless, they fully commit themselves to repairing the damage made to Italian soccer.

Ventura must do the honourable thing and resign even though he has said he won't. Which is baffling considering he failed in spectacular fashion. There's no excuse for his tactical decisions and keeping Insigne to 15 minutes of playing time. None. ZERO goals in 180 minutes against a side that Sassuolo could probably beat. No disrespect to Sweden as they had a good qualifying campaign and deserved their victory. Good luck to them in Russia.

In order for real changes to be made, Tavecchio must also be dismissed. That he was re-elected despite his unsavoury racist comments said a lot about the FIGC. Adriano Galliani for supporting him? Fuori!

This bunch then handed the keys to a Ferrari to a 70 year-old who was clearly less about change and more about staying set in his ways. The kicker? In a country that has produced hands down among the best coaches in soccer history on a consistent basis including three who won titles for teams in the Big Five leagues and having won four out of the last seven English titles they settle on Ventura?

A country that boasts coaches (never mind that country also produces some of the best referees) that have won an endless stream of trophies couldn't have chosen better?

The shocking lack of depth is also of serious concern. We see at the U-17 and U-21 levels Italy routinely smacked by countries like Spain now. England too has gotten its act together and are on the rise. Who would have thought Italy was to become England?

Without key obstacles removed, there can be no 'revolution' as Corriere dello Sporto asserts must happen.

The FIGC disgracefully used band aid applications to mask the wounds we all saw with Italian soccer over the last two World Cup campaigns. It's been said that unfortunately it took such an event to take place in order to consider a direct overhaul. It's been done. Germany hit darks days in the 1990s and 2000s and revamped themselves (although they never had the dubious distinction and trauma of not qualifying for a major tournament) and came back as strong as ever. Spain too has its system down pat. France is another country finding its consistent identity and more recently Portugal has joined the ranks.

Will Italy (and for that matter The Netherlands) rejoin them?

What a brutal end to Buffon's illustrious career. The entire crud in the FIGC let him - arguably the greatest keeper ever - down.

What kind of class is Buffon? When he heard the fans disrespecting the Swedish anthem (something I could do without and was ashamed to hear) he was clapping in defiance. He understood this was not polite or just.

Good luck to Sweden in Russia.

Two images these bumbling nincompoops gave fans today: Italy's most creative player Insigne rotting on the bench and Gigi Buffon crying for failing supporters. That's ALL on the FIGC. All of it.

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