By Brian Homewood
MILAN (Reuters - Italy's football federation (FIGC) will meet on Wednesday to discuss the future of coach Gian Piero Ventura following their astonishing failure to qualify for the World Cup.
FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio said a "shared solution" was necessary after Italy's first failure to qualify since 1958, following their 1-0 aggregate defeat to Sweden in a two-leg playoff.
"We are deeply bitter and disappointed over the failure to qualify for the World Cup, it is a sporting failure that needs a shared solution," said Tavecchio in an FIGC statement.
"For this reason I called a meeting tomorrow... to conduct a thorough analysis and decide on future choices."
Ventura, whose contract was extended in August to run until the Euro 2020 tournament, refused to step down immediately after the 0-0 draw against Sweden on Monday.
The 69-year-old - the oldest man ever to coach Italy - was described by Tavecchio as a "master of football" when he replaced Antonio Conte following Euro 2016 and was initially given a two-year contract.
Ventura has never won a major title or coached any of AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus and has spent much of his career in the lower divisions.
However, he has enjoyed a long, steady career in Italy and has a reputation for nurturing young talent.
He also gained widespread respect following a five-year spell with Torino when he led them out of Serie B and to several respectable finishes in the middle and upper half of Serie A.
Italy finished second in their European qualifying group behind Spain, forcing them to face Sweden for a place in Russia.
Ventura has been in charge for 17 games with 10 wins, four draws and three defeats.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge)