Italy’s dream at the Women’s Under-17 European Championship has come to a close. After a good first half that finished 0-0 in Marijampole, the Under-17s fell 4-0 to England who progressed to the semi-finals. There was a sense of regret but it was an extraordinary season overall for the Azzurrine as Migliorini stated. "The girls have been brilliant," said the Coach after the match. "I was fortunate to experience this season alongside them. I knew from the beginning that the England match would be the toughest obstacle because they’ve got this pace and physicality that we lack. It’s a shame because the 0-0 scoreline at the break would have seen us qualify. They were good and compact and everything was going well but then we tired and they punished us. However, I’m happy with the season overall and the girls have grown a lot. At the end of this cycle, I will present a number of players to my Under-19 colleague [Enrico Sbardella] ready to make the step up."
The Azzurrine overall had a very positive adventure at the tournament. Migliorini’s team got through the first group phase with a win over Malta and draws against Slovenia and Finland. They then went unbeaten at the Elite Round with wins over Hungary and Serbia and a draw against the Czech Republic.
For the match against England, Migliorini went with the same team that played against Spain apart for a change at the back with Orlando coming in for Corrado who failed to recover from an injury picked up against Poland. Compared to the Poland match, Boglioni returned at left-back and Fracas as centre-forward.
The match started with England on the front foot as Forcinella kept out a low Park cross. In the eight minute, Italy responded with a Tamobrini shot off target. England went close in the 17th minute but Ripamonti and then Forcinella denied Park. The Italy goalkeeper again showed her quality in the 38th minute with a miraculous save from Salmon. The final chance was for Italy in the 40th minute as Tomaselli just failed to connect with the ball in the air.
In the second half, Jhamat had a goal disallowed for offside early on. England then took the lead with Salmon finding the net in the 47th minute who beat the offside trap and fired across the goal to end the Azzurrine’s record of going 440 minutes without conceding.
With their pride hurt, Italy looked to find the equaliser that would send them to the semi-final. However, Salmon was unstoppable making it 2-0 and then 3-0 in the 63rd and 65th minutes. With England on top, Blanchard made it 4-0 in the 72nd minute.
ENGLAND 4-0 ITALY
Goals: 47’, 63’ e 65’ Salmon, 72’ Blanchard
England: Rendell, Jhamat (63’ Brown), A.Roberts, L.Roberts, Williams (52’ Ale), Kearns, McKenzie, Griffin, Blanchard, Salmon (67’ Gayle), Park. Coach: John Griffiths
Italy: Forcinella, Donda, Ripamonti, Orlando, Boglioni, Tomaselli, De Biase (50’ Battelani), Tamborini, Bellucci (63’ Ladu), Bragonzi, Fracas (65’ Landa). Coach: Massimo Migliorini.
Referee: Velevačkoska (MKD); Assistants: Telek (AUT)-Alistratova (KAZ)
The groups for the Under-17 Women’s European Championship finals
Group A: Lithuania, Germany, Finland, The Netherlands
Group B: Poland, Spain, ITALY, England
The Azzurrine’s schedule in Group B
9th May: ITALY 0-0 Spain (10:00 CEST) – Šiauliai Central Stadium)
12th May: ITALY 0-0 Poland (14:00 CEST) – Marijampole FC Stadium)
15th May: ITALY 0-4 England (12:00 CEST) – Marijampole FC Stadium)
Table: Spain 7 points, England 4, ITALY and Poland 2.