Nazionale A Femminile

World Cup qualifiers: Italy start strong as Girelli and Giacinti give the Azzurre their first three points

The opening match against Moldova ends 3-0 in Trieste. Bertolini: "Happy with the win, but we lacked some precision". Next up is a match with Croatia on Tuesday in Karlovac (17:30 CEST)

Friday, September 17, 2021

World Cup qualifiers: Italy start strong as Girelli and Giacinti give the Azzurre their first three points

The Women’s National Team’s journey in qualifying for the 2023 World Cup began decisively. Italy beat Moldova 3-0 in their first outing of the season, in what was a rematch of the fixture in which Coach Milena Bertolini made her debut in the dugout four years ago. That was the first step of a long march that would lead the Azzurre to compete at the France 2019 World Cup, where they would eventually reach the quarter-finals, keeping millions of Italians glued to their TV screens along the way.

At Stadio Nereo Rocco in Trieste, the stadium named after the creator of the catenaccio system, Moldova set up shop in their own half in an attempt at damage limitation, but Italy were well able to assert their indisputable technical supremacy and broke the opponent's resistance as early as the first half thanks to Girelli’s brace and a further goal from Giacinti. On Tuesday, Gama and her companions will take to the pitch in Karlovac at 17:30 CEST to take on Croatia, who will make their qualifying debut away at Romania later this evening.

“We’re happy because we started this new journey with a win - declared Milena Bertolini immediately after the final whistle - I liked the girls’ attitude, but there’s some regret for having made so many mistakes in front of goal. Croatia await us next, who are a very physical team with good individuals. We’ll have to be more clinical and ruthless in front of goal against them”.

Match Report - For the first match of the season, the Coach relied on her tried and trusted 4-3-3 formation made up of players from Juventus (5), AC Milan (3) and Roma (3). Giuliani lined up in goal, behind a rear guard of Bergamaschi and Bartoli as full backs and Gama and Linari as centre backs. Meanwhile, in midfield, the fantastic and concrete trio made up of Giugliano, Cernoia and Rosucci, lined up behind an attacking trio of Bonansea, Giacinti and Girelli. The Moldovan head coach responded with a very cautious 4-4-2, starting four players who play their trade in Italy (Cerescu of Pink Bari, Mițul, Mardari and Colesnicenco of Apulia Trani).

At the start of the match, Milena Bertolini's team made the most of Bergamaschi’s overlaps as they tried to find a gap in the opposition backline. If the AC Milan winger were well dealt with by the opposition, Cernoia's cross arrived exactly where it was intended: In the 15th minute, the Juve midfielder freed herself on the left wing before serving up a perfect assist to Girelli, who managed to find goal number 45 for the national team at the second attempt, after a rebound off the goalkeeper. Ten minutes later, Giacinti won a penalty that Girelli converted, sending Munteanu the wrong way. In the 35th minute, Giacinti found a third for the Azzurre as she made the most of Cernoia's second perfect delivery. The first half ended with Bonansea's attempt from long range that skimmed off the top of the crossbar.

The score wouldn’t change throughout the second half. Italy continued to attack relentlessly and in the opening ten minutes Bergamaschi twice came close to making it 4-0, first with a close-range shot that ended up off target, then with a powerful right footed shot from outside the box that struck the crossbar with goalkeeper beaten. As the minutes passed by, Italy’s foothold in the game grew even stronger, as they continued to put pressure on the Moldovans who luckily managed to hold off the attacks of the newly entered Serturini and Glionna. The scoreline, despite relentless pressure near the end, would not change. Italy thus begin their new World Cup qualifying journey in the best possible way, and to the applause of over 1,300 fans present at Stadio Nereo Rocco. It's a blue celebration in Trieste, but now attention turns to Croatia


ITALY (4-3-3): Giuliani; Bergamaschi (58’ Serturini), Gama (58’ Salvai), Linari, Bartoli; Giugliano (81’ Caruso), Rosucci, Cernoia (72’ Boattin); Bonansea (72’ Glionna), Giacinti, Girelli. Unused subs: Baldi, Durante, Di Guglielmo, Lenzini, Soffia, Galli, Glionna, Pirone. Coach: Bertolini

MOLDOVA (4-4-2): Munteanu; Covali, Cerescu, Prisăcari, Mițul; Mardari (86’ Tez), Topal, Colesnicenco, Țabur; Chiper, Colnic (46’ Chirica). Unused subs: Dumic, Panova, Railean, Burdeniuc, Doiban, Catarău, Costin, Brînza. Coach: Blanuta

REFEREE: Watson (SCO). Assistants: Allan (SCO), Robertson (SCO). Fourth Official: Hendry (SCO)

GOALSCORERS: 15’ & 27’ Girelli, 35’ Giacinti

BOOKINGS: Colesnicenco, Chiper, Chirica

Schedule (all times CEST)

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