Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio said he has not slept since Monday’s failure to qualify for 2018 World Cup, which he blamed firmly on coach Gian Piero Ventura.
Ventura was sacked on Wednesday, two days after a goalless draw at home to Sweden meant that Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
Tavecchio, 74, is under pressure to follow suit but has so far stood his ground.
“The debacle was technical, the coach made the wrong technical choices,” he said in a trailer for a programme which will be broadcast by the Mediaset network on Sunday.
“We played the wrong way. Sweden’s players are nearly all over one metre 90 and we kept crossing the ball into the penalty area. We needed our small players, but they were on the bench.”
In the interview, conducted in the back seat of a car, Tavecchio accepted that it was his decision to appoint Ventura.
“The coach was chosen by me. I‘m under stress, I haven’t slept for four days,” he said with tears welling in his eyes.
After the match, Ventura apologised for the result but not for the effort shown by his players.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said neither goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon nor defender Andrea Barzagli, who both announced their international retirements after Monday’s game, would play in Sunday’s Serie A match at Sampdoria.
Buffon won 175 caps for Italy and next year’s World Cup in Russia would have been the sixth for the 39-year-old.
“Buffon and Barzagli are fine, they are getting over the disappointment but they won’t play,” Allegri told reporters.
“Life goes on but they need time to get over it. After 15 days with the national team, which has absorbed a great amount of physical and nervous energy, it’s only right that they rest.”
Allegri, who has won three successive Serie A titles with Juventus, said he was not interested in the Italy job for now.
“It’s an ambition of mine, but not at this moment,” he said. “I’ve got plenty on my plate.”(Reuters/NAN)