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ITALY

Giampiero Ventura replaces Conte as new Italy coach

Giampiero Ventura was officially unveiled as Italy's new manager on a two-year contract designed to make sure the Azzurri qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Giampiero Ventura replaces Conte as new Italy coach
Giampiero Ventura has coached a number of clubs in Italy's top flight. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Ventura replaces Antonio Conte, who led Italy to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 before taking over at Premier League giants Chelsea.

A respected tactician, the 68-year-old Ventura has coached a number of clubs in Italy's top flight and comes to the post following a five-year spell with Torino.

His first game in charge of Italy will be a friendly against beaten Euro 2016 finalists France in Bari on September 1st.

After admitting his “pride” at being appointed, Ventura was quick to pay tribute to his 46-year-old predecessor.

“I'm absolutely delighted to be here, but more than anything proud to have been chosen to lead one of the world's leading national football teams,” Ventura told media at Italy's national training complex at Coverciano.

“I also want to thank Antonio Conte, because he's left me not just a squad but a squad with a great work ethic and that is going to help me.

“It will give me a small advantage when I begin because, being the national team coach, I know I won't have the team with me every day.”

Conte, who was officially unveiled as Chelsea coach last week, upset predictions to steer a young and largely experimental Azzurri side to the last eight at Euro 2016.

Italy notably cruised past Belgium in their group opener, beat defending champions Spain in the last 16 and only fell at the quarter-finals during an epic, error-strewn penalty shootout with Germany.

The performance reinstalled faith in the four-time world champions, who have failed to get past the first round of the competition for the past two editions.

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio admitted their feats in France had “raised our profile” but although he heaped praise on Conte he expects the wily Ventura to follow suit.

“I want to thank Antonio Conte for everything he's done for us, he created a new culture in the squad, one of sacrifice. One based on the team, not the individual,” said Tavecchio.

“I knew Conte would leave, it was to be expected. But Ventura is a football master, and was always part of my plans.”

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ACCIDENT

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident

Thirteen people, including German tourists, have been killed after a cable car disconnected and fell near the summit of the Mottarone mountain near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy.

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident
The local emergency services published this photograph of the wreckage. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

The accident was announced by Italy’s national fire and rescue service, Vigili del Fuoco, at 13.50 on Sunday, with the agency saying over Twitter that a helicopter from the nearby town of Varese was on the scene. 

Italy’s National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps confirmed that there were 13 victims and two seriously injured people.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that German tourists were among the 13 victims.

According to their report, there were 15 passengers inside the car — which can hold 35 people — at the time a cable snapped, sending it tumbling into the forest below. Two seriously injured children, aged nine and five, were airlifted to hospital in Turin. 

The cable car takes tourists and locals from Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore up to a panoramic peak on the Mottarone mountain, reaching some 1,500m above sea level. 

According to the newspaper, the car had been on its way from the lake to the mountain when the accident happened, with rescue operations complicated by the remote forest location where the car landed. 

The cable car had reopened on April 24th after the end of the second lockdown, and had undergone extensive renovations and refurbishments in 2016, which involved the cable undergoing magnetic particle inspection (MPI) to search for any defects. 

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Twitter that he expressed his “condolences to the families of the victims, with special thoughts for the seriously injured children and their families”.

Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini told Italy’s Tg1 a commission of inquiry would be established, according to Corriere della Sera: “Our thoughts go out to those involved. The Ministry has initiated procedures to set up a commission and initiate checks on the controls carried out on the infrastructure.”

“Tomorrow morning I will be in Stresa on Lake Maggiore to meet the prefect and other authorities to decide what to do,” he said.

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