Italy sacks Ventura

ROME – Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura was sacked yesterday as he paid the almost inevitable price for their failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.

The Italian federation (FIGC) initially issued a statement saying that Ventura was “no longer” the coach without clarifying whether he had been sacked or resigned. An FIGC source, however, told Reuters that the 69-year-old had been fired.

The four-times world champions were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Sweden in the second leg of their European playoff on Monday, losing 1-0 on aggregate, and will miss the finals for the first time since 1958.

Unusually in Italy, the federation did not thank Ventura for his services, nor wish him well for the future.

FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio later told reporters that he had spoken to Ventura and “told him we no longer had need of his services, so as of today, Italy does not have a coach.”

Many Italian newspapers also called for the resignation of Tavecchio following the World Cup fiasco, but in Wednesday’s statement, the FIGC said he had declined to quit.

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