Olympic president urges Carlo Tavecchio to resign over Italy World Cup failure

Football


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Italy’s Olympic Committee president has urged Italian Football Association (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio to step down after the country’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

FIGC officials are due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the consequences of Italy missing out on a World Cup for the first time in 60 years.

Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago said the 1-0 aggregate playoff defeat to Sweden meant Tavecchio should step down.

He told Sky Sport Italia: “I’ve spoken with Tavecchio and asked him what his intentions are… and he wanted to discuss with everybody how to proceed.

“Only he can assume responsibility, and there are no other solutions — the decision is his. Personally, if I were in his position, I would resign.”

Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura has so far refused to resign, although his dismissal is considered to be inevitable.

Former Italy players have questioned the current squad, with defender Giuseppe Bergomi, a World Cup winner in 1982, telling La Gazzetta dello Sport: “We’re not rubbish.

“The team that played at Euro 2016 was not as good as this one, particularly in attack, but there was nobody in that team who would not give 100 percent and the coach [Antonio Conte] assumed all the responsibility.

“This team, on the other hand, put themselves in the most difficult position and the after-effects of [a 3-0 defeat to Spain in] Madrid were there for all to see.

“When you discredit your coach, you are putting huge pressure on yourself when you take to the field.

“When you don’t have a free mind, you can’t do even the simplest of things, or win those one-on-ones which can cause your opponents problems.”

Italy failed to qualify for a World Cup for the first time in 60 years.

Marco Materazzi, who won the World Cup in 2006, said the problem was not one of quality, adding: “I say that we’re not all that rubbish if we start to think of the future.

“We’ve got the material to start over, even in addition to the players who have been called up recently. We’ve got to use them well, though.”

Italy’s World Cup failure means the country’s RAI television channel now expects far fewer Italian viewers to tune in next summer.

Director Gabriele Romagnoli told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “It’s like sitting down at a table full of motivation, yet you find yourself sitting there with just a knife and fork, but no plates.

“I was looking forward to and counting on this World Cup for us to show all that we can do. This is an enormous blow.

“I am just very, very disappointed with the way this national team has been managed. There were so many signs that were ignored right back in the summer.

“It was accepted that we would go all the way [to the finals] with Ventura, who cannot take all the blame, but when you’ve been discredited by some of your key players, it’s an ugly ending.”

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.



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