The Italy team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup was surprising, and the coach, Milena Bertolini, pulled off some surprises. The center-back is an Italian football icon who has already been inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame. She was also the association’s first female vice president. The squad will soon be led by a group of athletes born around the year 2000 (Arianna Caruso, Martina Lenzini, Manuela Giugliano, Giada Greggi, and Benedetta Glionna), with adolescents Dragoni and Chiara Beccari as potential future captains.
Cristiana Girelli’s late goal in Thun and a stalemate between the Swiss and Romania helped Italy win Group G and go to the World Cup ahead of Switzerland. Giugliano serves as a deep-lying playmaker for Bertolini’s four-player defensive line, and Barbara Bonansea acts as a driving force on the wing. Two seasoned attackers, Girelli and Valentina Giacinti, will be expected to contribute goals and attacking prowess.
Milena Bertolini was hired in August 2017 after working for Brescia for five years. She has successfully led Italy to three significant goals during her six-year tenure: the World Cup quarterfinals in 2019, Euro 2022 qualifying, and current World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. A lousy Euro, though, has made its impact. After the World Cup, Bertolini will likely resign, and a new coach will take over to start a fresh chapter.
One of the players to watch in European football is Manuela Giugliano. She is fast rising to the position of midfield captain for Italy. Giu has the versatility to play as a playmaker or a No. 10. She shows an aptitude for creating passing spaces that other players may not have noticed. She appears prepared to advance at age 25, having just won her maiden scudetto with Roma this season.
Giulia Dragoni’s inclusion on the team garnered headlines both in Italy and abroad. Dragoni, a talented midfielder for Inter, has only played a little amount of Serie A time at age 16. She departed for Barcelona in January, making history as the first foreign woman to live at La Masia, the storied Barça academy. She earned the moniker “Little Messi” at a very young age due to her skill with the ball and dribbling.
Defender Lisa Boattin and her Juventus teammate, Linda Sembrant of Sweden, made their romance public on Valentine’s Day 2023 by posting a video on the team’s Instagram account. Lisa and Linda spent time together in Formentera in June; in July, they will compete against one another to get to the knockout round. On July 29, Italy and Sweden will square off in Wellington. Elena Linari’s father played rugby, and Elena grew up idolizing Jonah Lomu while watching All Blacks games on television.
State of Football
Footballers in Italy’s top women’s division will eventually become pros in 2022. a revolutionary shift. However, it was the 2019 World Cup that changed how the nation saw women’s football. Even if a comparison to men’s football is still unfeasible, players like Gama, Girelli, and Bonansea began to appear on TV and serve as brand ambassadors for significant companies. In Italy, volleyball continues to be the most popular sport for girls. Thanks to consistent TV coverage, the number of registered football players recently rose to between 35,000 and 40,000. One Serie A Femminile game each week was shown on the free-to-air television network La7 during the 2022–23 season. The national public broadcaster Rai will carry the World Cup live.
Italy must defeat Argentina and South Africa in order to move from the FIFA Women’s World Cup Group G, where Sweden is the undisputed favorite. The opening match against Argentina on July 24 in Auckland appears to be crucial.
For more football news, click here