Conte: Italy return very hard

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The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) issued a statement on Ventura Wednesday.

The inevitability of the departure of Ventura from the post of chief coach of the national team of Italy became obvious after the "Squadra Azzurra" in Milan, painted the goalless draw with Sweden and for the first time since 1958, failed to reach the final stage of the world Cup.

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Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has played down speculation that has linked him with a return to the vacant managerial role at the Italian national team, according to ESPN's Chelsea correspondent Liam Twomey. An FIGC source, however, told Reuters that the 69-year-old had been fired.

Unusually in Italy, the federation did not thank Ventura for his services, nor wish him well for the future. "We have thought about some important coaches as next manager", he said.

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The FIGC said it will consider "important names" to replace Ventura and former Italy global Ravanelli insisted the country must turn to Chelsea's Conte, who left the role past year having reached the Euro 2016 quarter-finals. In August, it was extended until the Euro 2020 tournament because the FIGC said it was happy with the team's progress. He spent much of his career in the lower divisions, but enjoyed a long, steady career and had a reputation for nurturing young talent.

After stumbling late in the qualifying rounds, Italy was forced into a playoff with Sweden to secure a berth in the World Cup.

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Mancini, whose Zenit are second in the Russian Premier League and three points adrift of Lokomotiv Moscow after 16 games, added: 'Like many of my fellow countrymen, I dreamed of seeing Italy at the World Cup in Russia.

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