There were lots of smiles after Italy left having played as equals in the draw against a Spain side who made the finals last time around and who have won three Women’s Under-17 European Championships. The Azzurrine were relaxed the day after in their Kaunas base. The 2-2 draw between Poland and England in the other Group A match means all is to play for with four crucial games coming up so that the top two sides to progress can be determined with thee places at the World Cup in Uruguay on the line.
If Italy are still on track to qualify, much of it is thanks to Camilla Forcinella who played a starring role in the opening match with her vital saves. It was the fourth straight clean sheet in an Italy shirt for the young goalkeeper from Trento. “It’s all thanks to the team,” said the Verona goalkeeper. “We’re doing great work in defence and we’re facing fewer shots. I felt emotional before the Spain game but it turned to passion once the anthem started and I made the most of it in a positive way. I knew that our group would be tight but the Spain match went before my expectations. We were able to play calmly with the ball and we played an excellent game.
On Saturday at 15:00 local time in Marijampole, Massimo Migliorini’s team will take on Poland in the knowledge that they can take a decisive step towards a place in the semi-finals. “We’ll have a very physical side up against us,” said the Coach. “They’re not as strong technically compared to Spain but they can’t be underestimated, we can’t allow ourselves to do that. We’ll have to do well and impose our style of play. We believe that we can qualify and we’re not afraid.”
If it’s now a question of believing, in the future it will be a matter of dreaming. “In men’s football, Gigi Buffon is my idol,” added Camilla. “I also really appreciate Neuer. In the women’s game, Stephanie Östrom is a point of reference for me. She gave me a lot of advice in my first year at Verona. I still need to develop a lot, my dream is to make the senior team and I know that a lot will depend on me.”
What’s the key attribute for a young goalkeeper. “Craziness, you have to be a bit crazy to play in goal. People say I’m good at coming off my line but I’ll leave that to others because I’m very self-critical. Now, I’m working on my reflexes while I need to improve with my feet. I’m good with my right but only so so with the left.”
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-Poland (14:00 CEST) – Marijampole FC Stadium)
15th May: ITALY-England (12:00 CEST) – Marijampole FC Stadium)