Ventura's men face Sweden at San Siro stadium to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia
NEWS ITALY SWEDEN / Today, the Italian national team must overtake a serious obstacle to not miss out on the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Sweden defeated 1-0 the Azzurri in the first-leg clash at Solna, a result that is particularly complicated to flip over. Ventura's men could suffer what has been called a national humiliation. Italy has participated in each World Cup edition since 1958.
In a recent interview, the 69-year-old coach Gian Piero Ventura had stated: "I don't understand why people are surprised. Since the draw, we knew that probably we would have had to play the playoffs. Spain was the favorite of our group."
Ventura reacts to criticisms ahead of the Italy-Sweden
Although the Italian coach is right saying this, the passionate fans are primarily discussing his management period. The team seems to be unaware of what to do on the field. Several players were used out of their favorite role and the overall development of the games played by the Azzurri was not satisfactory so far.
Ventura's failing tactical system compromised the performance of a glorious national team who won four World Cups over the years. Although the quality of the players at his disposal is not the same as that of his predecessors, the upsetting performance against Sweden triggered fierce criticisms in the 'Bel Paese'. Napoli's star Lorenzo Insigne was relegated on the bench and then entered as a central midfielder in the second half. Stephen El Shaarawy is currently doing great things at Roma but Ventura decided to send him on the stands. Several other tactical decisions were discussed in the past four days but the bottom line is that Italy faces an unbelievable elimination from the 2018 World Cup unless the team is able to produce magic.
Italy-Sweden will take place at 2:45 PM at San Siro Stadium in Milan. The Italian fans are praying for a good result to avoid an apocalypse that would be certainly triggered if Buffon & Co. will be embarrassed again.