TalkSPORT 2 World Cup play-off coverage on November 13, 2017


Reports from some sources in Italy suggest Max Allegri is in contention for the Italy job, should Italy fail to qualify for World Cup 2018.

The Azzurri suffered a 1-0 first-leg defeat and are under pressure to turn around the tie, in what could be Gianluigi Buffon's final competitive fixture for the national team.

And elimination would nearly certainly mean goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon playing his final competitive global.

"The World Cup is too important and, in the past, the national team have shown that they deserve [to be there]".

But he could oversee the Azzurri s first elimination since Northern Ireland denied them a ticket to the finals held in Sweden almost 60 years ago. Sweden's goalkeeper Robin Olsen only had one save throughout the match and will surely be worked more in this second leg. We have to avoid being over-confident. "At the moment, however, I don't even want to think about it".

Italy was second to Spain in the group phase and has not been able to recover from the 3-0 thrashing early September in Madrid. "Nobody can be surprised we reached this point", Ventura said on Sunday.

"I realise this is the way it works in Italy, but I didn't expect all this", he added of the reaction generated by the humiliation of an impending exit.

“We started out with people talking about the apocalypse.”.

Italian coach Ventura has come under heavy criticism for stubbornly sticking to a failing tactical system. "I'm fully aware that this game is fundamental for us, but it's the same scenario as when I first signed to lead the national side", he continued.

Ventura did eventually put Insigne on the pitch in that match, but in doing so removed Marco Verratti, the one midfielder in the lineup who had a chance of linking up with Insigne to try and chase an equalizer.

Italian football legend Andrea Pirlo who announced his retirement last week reportedly said, "Italy looked like a scared team that was playing for a 0-0 draw".

"We want to send Italians a message not with words, but with action on the pitch".

"They developed well and have good individual players".

Thousands of their fans wearing the team s yellow jersey have come to Milan for the match.

This time around, Italy can not afford such imbalances and poor decisions - they have no more margin for error, especially if their defense allows Sweden to score a tiebreaking away goal.