Four matches and four wins with ten goals scored and none conceded, this is the impressive record of the Women’s National Team during qualifying so far for the 2019 World Cup in France. The Azzurre will look to extend their winning run tomorrow on the artificial pitch in Vadul lui Voda in the match against Moldova who are bottom of the group with one goal scored and 28 conceded from the first four matches.
After reaching the final for the first time in the Cyprus Cup and climbing up to 15th place in the FIFA Ranking, Italy will take to the pitch with the aim of securing three more points to stay top of the group ahead of the match against Belgium on 10th April in Ferrara. That will be a crucial match-up as Italy look to head to a World Cup for the first time in 20 years. “First however, we must think of beating Moldova and claiming three important points,” said Milena Bertolini. “At international level, there are no easy games. It will be crucial that we have the right approach to the match and we must aware that any team can put us in difficulty if we play at a low tempo.There’s a difference on paper but there are hidden risks with this match and the main danger is that we unconsciously underestimate our opponent. If we want to go to the World Cup, we must approach every match as though it’s a final.”
With four players suspended (Gama, Guagni, Galli and Bonansea) and others not in top condition, Bertolini must still resolve some lingering doubts about what team to pick. “Those who are in the best shape will play,” the Coach added. “I see that the girls are focused and very determined. I have 23 players available to me and they’ll all be important over the next two games. In Cyprus, I saw evidence that a lot of them have developed and they’re ready to make their contribution.”
Milena Bertolini’s time as Italy Coach began six months ago at the Stadio Alberto Picco in La Spezia against Moldova with the Azzurre winning 5-0 courtesy of goals from Sabatino, Bonansea and Bergamaschi along with a Girelli brace.
“We had a devastating approach in that game,” recalled Bertolini. “We played direct football right from the start with the right attitude and we scored four goals in the first half. Tomorrow, we need to play with the same attitude. Compared to six months ago, we know each other better and the girls are getting more used to my idea of how football is played. We are Italy and we must always go out looking to play our game.”
Goalkeepers: Chiara Marchitelli (Brescia), Laura Giuliani (Juventus), Rosalia Pipitone (Res Roma);
Defenders: Elena Linari (Fiorentina), Alia Guagni (Fiorentina), Elisa Bartoli (Fiorentina), Cecilia Salvai (Juventus), Sara Gama (Juventus), Linda Cimini Tucceri (San Zaccaria), Lisa Boattin (Juventus),
Midfielders: Aurora Galli (Juventus), Laura Fusetti (Brescia), Martina Rosucci (Juventus), Manuela Giugliano (Brescia), Barbara Bonansea (Juventus), Greta Adami (Fiorentina), Eleonora Goldoni (Tennessee State University), Lisa Alborghetti (Mozzanica), Benedetta Glionna (Juventus);
Forwards: Daniela Sabatino (Brescia), Ilaria Mauro (Fiorentina), Valentina Giacinti (Brescia), Cristiana Girelli (Brescia).
Staff – Head of the delegation: Barbara Facchetti; Coordinator of the Women‘s National Teams: Annarita Stallone; Head Coach: Milena Bertolini; Assistant: Attilio Sorbi; Secretary: Elide Martini; Fitness coach: Stefano D’Ottavio; Goalkeeping coach: Cristiano Viotti; Match analyst: Marco Mannucci; Doctors: Matteo Guzzini and Monica Fabbri; Physiotherapists: Roberto Cardarelli, Maurizio D’Angelo and Andrea Mangino; Nutritionist: Natale Gentile.
Fixtures and Table in Group 6
12:00 CEST Moldova vs. ITALY
19:30 CEST: Belgium vs. Portugal
Table: ITALY 12 points (4 matches played), Belgium 9 (3), Portugal 3 (3), Romania 3 (4), Moldova 0 (4).