Nazionale A Femminile

Italy’s World Cup qualifying journey to begin tomorrow. Bertolini: “We need to have hunger, nothing can be taken for granted”

The Azzurre will face Moldova at 17:30 CEST in Trieste. Gama: “Proud to be playing in my city”

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Italy’s World Cup qualifying journey to begin tomorrow. Bertolini: “We need to have hunger, nothing can be taken for granted”

Memories, emotions and great hopes for the future. Tomorrow’s fixture will be a special one for Italy Women, who are ready to take to the pitch at the Stadio Nereo Rocco in Trieste to play their first match in 2023 Women’s World Cup qualification. Their opponents will be Moldova, the same side they kicked off their 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign against.  

Indeed, in 2017 at the Stadio Picco in La Spezia, Milena Bertolini took charge of her first Italy match, Sara Gama captained the side for the first time and Girelli bagged a brace as the Azzurre ran out 5-0 winners over their Moldovan counterparts. The hope is things will go just as well tomorrow: “We’re starting again from where we once began. Just as we did back then, we want to do well,” said the Head Coach during today’s press conference. “Moldova have improved a lot over the past few years, so it’ll be vital to approach this match with the same spirit that we’ve always displayed out on the pitch during the last four years, during which we’ve enjoyed some great moments.”

As regards successfully securing qualification, Italy aren’t going to get too far ahead of themselves: “I’d wait before saying that we’re the favourites to win the group because nothing can be taken for granted at international level,” Bertolini continued. “We’ll face Switzerland, who are a strong side with many good players, while the other teams certainly won’t be easy to play against. We need to have the hunger and desire to achieve our objective.”

Sara Gama, meanwhile, can’t wait to play for Italy in her home city for the very first time: “I’m very happy and excited to be here. The fact that a new path will be beginning in Trieste makes me proud,” said the Azzurre captain. She continued: “We want to produce a good performance in front of our home crowd. The first match is always tricky but we’ve worked with humility as we aim to showcase our qualities. We’re aware of our strength and want to come away with a victory.”

Thoughts then turned to the female Afghan players who were guests at Coverciano on Tuesday. “I’m happy that these girls were able to experience a day like this after everything that has gone on. They got to enjoy a moment of happiness, and this is something that gives even more meaning to what we do,” said Bertolini. Gama then added the following: “I followed their journey from the very beginning and am happy that the Federation, together with all the other participants in the initiative, made every effort to welcome them. Talking about football and their passions brought immense joy.”

Squad list

Goalkeepers: Rachele Baldi (Roma), Francesca Durante (Inter), Laura Giuliani (Milan);

Defenders: Elisa Bartoli (Roma), Valentina Bergamaschi (Milan), Lisa Boattin (Juventus), Lucia Di Guglielmo (Roma), Sara Gama (Juventus), Martina Lenzini (Juventus), Elena Linari (Roma), Cecilia Salvai (Juventus), Angelica Soffia (Roma), Alice Tortelli (Fiorentina);

Midfielders: Arianna Caruso (Juventus), Valentina Cernoia (Juventus), Aurora Galli (Everton), Manuela Giugliano (Roma), Martina Rosucci (Juventus);

Forwards: Agnese Bonfantini (Juventus), Barbara Bonansea (Juventus), Sofia Cantore (Sassuolo), Valentina Giacinti (Milan), Cristiana Girelli (Juventus), Benedetta Glionna (Roma), Gloria Marinelli (Inter), Valeria Pirone (Roma), Annamaria Serturini (Roma).

Schedule (all times CEST)

Thursday 16 September
16:00 Training at the Stadio Nereo Rocco (press access for the first 15’ minutes)

Friday 17 September

Saturday 18 September
10:00 Training
16:30 Training

Sunday 19 September
10:00 Training
Departure from Trieste for Karlovac in the afternoon

Monday 20 September
17:30 Training at the Stadion Branko Čavlović-Čavlek in Karlovac

Tuesday 21 September
Return to Italy, with the players going back to their respective club sides