The writing was on the wall for Gian Piero Ventura from the second the full-time whistle was blown in Italy’s goalless draw against Sweden on Monday.
As the three peeps of the referee’s whistle reverberated around the San Siro, the shocking reality set in that the 2018 World Cup would take place without the four-time champions, a 1-0 defeat in the first leg seeing to that.
There was a sense of optimism around the Azzurri just 16 months ago as Antonio Conte secured a quarter-final finish at Euro 2016, only a penalty shoot-out defeat to Germany halting their progress.
So, where did things go wrong for the now sacked Ventura? We have used Opta data to delve a little further.
HIGHER WIN PERCENTAGE THAN CONTE AND LIPPI
On the face of it, it wasn’t all bad for Ventura – a 56.3% win percentage is higher than achieved by predecessor Conte (56%), and winning World Cup managers Marcello Lippi (50%) and Enzo Bearzot (45.5%).
Of course, this must be contextualised by the fact all three men took charge for more games than the 16 games overseen by Ventura, with Conte taking charge of 25, Lippi 56 and Bearzot 88.
During the 16 games, of which only nine were won, there was a costly draw against Macedonia and the 3-0 humbling away to Spain that ultimately consigned the Azzurri to a play-off.
WHERE ARE THE GOALS?
At first glance, 27 goals in 16 games doesn’t seem all that bad – but consider that five of those came in one game against lowly Liechtenstein. In their World Cup qualifying group, Italy scored 15 fewer goals than group leaders Spain, and a failure to score at all in their play-off against Sweden condemned them to defeat. Eight clean sheets was a decent return from Ventura’s tenure, but a lack of goal threat was too prevalent throughout his reign. Ciro Immobile chipped in with six, the most of any player under Ventura, and the Lazio frontman also played the most during his spell with 15 appearances.
HOW DO THE CONTENDERS LOOK?
Of the big names being linked with the job, we have taken a look at their record in Serie A. Many are clamouring for the return of Conte, and it is not hard to see why. The former Juventus boss has an astonishing 67.7% win record in Italy’s top flight. In comparison, Carlo Ancelotti – many people’s favourite for the role – has a 56.8% ratio, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri 58.8% and Roberto Mancini 52.4%.