Azzurrine ecstatic following their Elite Round qualification. Tavecchio: ” You’ve achieved something great”

Azzurrine ecstatic following their Elite Round qualification. Tavecchio: &#

After Italy’s Under-19 women’s side advanced to the European Championship finals with a win over Norway on Monday, FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio has since telephoned coach Enrico Sbardella to pass on his congratulations to the team: “Great job girls! Mister Sbardella’s side have achieved something extraordinary to finish first in a group with Sweden, Norway and Serbia. Especially when it seemed impossible beforehand. Qualification is just reward for the work that the Under-19 side has put in, just like all of the other Italy women’s teams. It is an incentive for the entire Italian football movement to do their utmost to help keep developing women’s football.”

Benedetta Glionna initially levelled the scoring for the Azzurrine on Monday, although it was in the 92nd minute, when Marta Mascarello’s winning penalty kick created scenes of jubilation amongst the Azzurrine: “I remember hardly anything just before the penalty,” said the Cuneo midfielder. “Alessia (Cavicchia) gave me the ball and told me to take it. I thought about whether to curl my shot or not, so many things passed through my head. I knew that if Serbia were beating Sweden, then we would qualify if we scored. At the end I decided to put my foot through it. The goalkeeper guessed the right direction but fortunately it went in.”

It was a game with an extremely happy ending, creating a tale which they will one day be able to tell their grandchildren about. However, for now it was the parents who received an immediate phone call: “I rang my mum and dad after the game and they were so happy,” Mascarello added. “My father coaches a junior team, but strangely enough we rarely talk about football. However, he does still give me advice.” As well as receiving guidance from her father, Marta also revealed how she seeks guidance from another Italian star: “I am not that great at passing,” she admitted. “My strong point is my vision and I really like Verratti. I love the way in which he defends the ball when he is under pressure. Let’s say that I am influenced by both him and Andrea Pirlo.”

The Azzurrine will now prepare to take part in the summer European Championship finals in Northern Ireland, something which Marta is incredibly excited about: “Like lot’s of my teammates, I must first finish my exams,” said the youngster. “It will be a different summer but one that will be fantastic. Following the defeat against Sweden, we knew that qualification did not depend solely on ourselves, however we kept the that never say die mentality. It was extremely emotional.”

Coach Enrico Sbardella was also elated following the result, as he praised his side for their determination and belief: “ Well done!” said the ecstatic Azzurri coach. “The squad believed right until the end and eventually brought us great joy. This triumph has been earned by a united group and the work that we have taken forwards with the cooperation of Antonio Cabrini and the collaboration of two expert coaches, Rita Guarino and Massimo Migliorini. It is a success that we will share with all of them.”

Schedule, results and standings for Group 5

Matchday One (5th April)
Serbia 0-3 ITALY (14:00) – Sarpsborg)
Norway vs. Sweden (18:30 – Sarpsborg)

Matchday Two (7th April)
Sweden 2-0 ITALIY (14:00 – Fredrikstad)
Norway 2-2 Serbia (18:30 – Fredrikstad)

Matchday Three (10th April)
Norway 1-2 ITALY (16:00 – Sarpsborg)
Serbia 2-0 Sweden (16:00 – Fredrikstad)

Standings: ITALY 6 points, Sweden and Norway 4, Serbia 3

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