Italian press blast ‘abysmal’ Azzurri performance

Turin, Italy: Italy and coach Gian Piero Ventura were in the firing line on Saturday after an “abysmal” 1-1 draw against Macedonia in Turin left the Azzurri’s path to the World Cup uncertain.
La Stampa hit out at a “soft and clueless Italy… on death’s door,” with Ventura and defender Leonardo Bonucci in the firing line.
“The Azzurri are extinct… an Italy that can’t be watched, a shame,” the newspaper said of the draw against a team “worse than Trinidad and Tobago (in the Fifa rankings).”
“Enough Ventura!” headlined Turin-based daily Tuttosport as the four-time world champions not only failed to seal a spot in the 2018 World Cup play-offs, but also their status of seeds in the draw.
“Abysmal Azzurro,” the newspaper continued in their editorial of the “disconcerting” stalemate.
And based on the performance in the Stadio Grande Torino the newspaper fears “the eventuality of the play-of makes one shudder”.
La Gazzetta also lambasted Ventura, giving him a rating of four out of 10.
“Italy were indecent,” wrote La Gezzetta. “What is worrying is above all the difference in the performance of many of the players between their clubs and the national side,” the newspaper continued.
“(Ciro) Immobile began the season with quickfire scoring (9 goals), (Lorenzo) Insigne blows away the San Paolo every time he touches a ball… but in the national side just flops.”
La Repubblica headlined: “Italy are on their last legs.”
“The visa for the play-offs should be a formality but Italy stumbled as Macedonia upped the level. “The equaliser was scored by a player in the (Italian) second division, Palermo’s (Aleksandar) Trajkovski,” noted the newspaper.
Not being seeded means Italy could be paired with strong teams such as Portugal or Croatia in the play-offs. — AFP