Italy fires national team soccer coach Ventura after failure to earn World Cup berth

Thomas Northcut/DigitalVision/Thinkstock(ROME) — The Italian Football Federation announced the firing of the head coach of the national soccer team on Wednesday after he failed to guide them to next summer’s World Cup.

Italy lost to Sweden, 1-0 on aggregate, in a World Cup qualifying playoff earlier this week, marking the first time the team will miss a World Cup since 1958. As a result, on Wednesday, the IFF announced that Gian Piero Ventura would not return as the national team’s head coach.

The search for a successor begins immediately, with the team’s next match scheduled for March 27 — a friendly against England.

Ventura coached the Italian team for 17 matches, winning ten, drawing four and losing three. ESPN noted that his tenure ends as rumors persist about disatisfaction among some of the more experienced players.

Italian news agency ANSA quoted Renzo Ulivieri, president of the Italian Coaches’ Association, as saying before Wednesday’s announcement that “not going to Russia is a problem, and we’re not stupid enough not to realize that.”

“In view of such a result, the whole system needs to be questioned,” he added. “It would have been wrong [for Ventura] to resign in the heat of the moment — it’s always best to meet first.”

ESPN named Carlo Ancelotti as one of the favorites to take the job. Ancelotti has coached for AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in his career. He was fired by Bayern Munich last month.

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