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Author: Mattia Fontana

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At the end of the European Cup, Antonio Conte’s adventure on the Italian national team’s bench came to an end. As things stand, the name of his successor has not yet been announced. But there is no doubt, as journalistic indiscretions will confirm, that the most likely candidate is Giampiero Ventura.

A 68-year-old coach fresh from five years of experience on the Torino bench. A Serie B team that was taken to the brink of the Europa League quarter finals (2015), consistently proving its ability to adapt to the roster changes year after year. Why has the Federcalcio’s choice seemingly fallen on him? What can a veteran of the Italian bench offer the Azzurri?
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The primary characteristic of Ventura’s teams, notwithstanding the formation used, is that of delegating great responsibility to a forward wing in the set-up phase. On the latest Torino squad, if a physical and manoeuvring midfielder played in the centre, on the right wing Bruno Peres was active. A player who, as can be seen on this occasion, is capable of serving up assists even from the centre line.
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Ventura’s Torino was one of the teams that maximised the number of goals converted from corner kicks in recent years. Last season there were no less than 8 (only Juventus and Milan converted more).

This is thanks to simple and effective plays, but also to the presence of defenders like Glik, very physical and suited for making plays in the air, even in the offensive phase.

Conclusions:

Ventura has coached in 34 of the last 36 sports seasons, successfully keeping the principles of his football strategies intact, made up of quality and movement along the forward wings, nevertheless modernising them from time to time;

Throughout his career, he has demonstrated that he knows more than just one formation. His Torino moved up into Serie A playing a very offensive 4-4-2, but it soon switched to a 3-5-2 formation. At Pisa, he astonished fans with the 4-2-4 (2007/8 season), whereas at Cagliari (1998/99) he was one of the first to implement a three-man defence in Italy. Something similar to Conte, from whom he inherited Bari with great success in 2009;

His ability to hold up under pressure goes hand in hand with his talent management skills: from the explosion of Bonucci and Ranocchia at Bari, moving onto the rise of Immobile, Cerci and last, but not least, Belotti at Torino. Despite never having had a highly ranked team, he has always managed to adapt his play strategies and bring out the best in the young players he had on his roster. Precisely what post-Conte Italy needs.
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Mattia Fontana
Mattia Fontana, Eurosport Italia editor.
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