Azzurrine ready to start. Sbardella: “The dream is to qualify for the World Cup”

Azzurrine ready to start. Sbardella: “The dream is to qualify for the

Four years ago in 2013, Italy’s Under-17s wrote an important chapter in the history of women’s football. They finished third at the European Championship before taking bronze at the World Cup in Costa Rica. Enrico Sbardella was on the bench then as he will be for the Women’s Under-19 National Team in the European Championship finals opener against England. He is there with the same objective. “The dream is to qualify for the World Cup, it’s not easy because our group is very balanced but we have to try. We did it with the Under-17s, who says we can’t do it again this year.”

England are the first opponents with the Azzurrine taking them on at Mourneview Park in Lurgan at 15:00 local time or 16:00 CEST. They met in 2015 in Montepulciano which ended in a 1-1 draw and last February at the tournament in La Manga when Italy lost 4-0. Newly appointed Senior Women’s Manager Milena Bartolini will be in attendance. “To meet the toughest opponent in the first game is a disadvantage because it’s important to start on the right foot in these tournaments added Sbardella. It will be tough and proper game straight away but we are ready. We prepared well and the atmosphere is calm. I repeat: our group is very balanced, it was good to avoid Germany and Spain who are the favourites. England are also a candidate to win, they have something over us physically so we’ll have to make up for that small distance by being better tactically and technically.”

Italy Under-19s became the champions of Europe for the first time in 2008 by finishing top of Group thanks to a late 2-1 win in the last group game with Norway. Marta Mascarello scored the decisive penalty and she’s ready for this latest adventure. “England qualified top, winning all their games,” added the coach. “They have their strength in physicality and the wingers who are certainly their best aspects. We’re not starting already beaten, we have a good chance as the group is well set and its developed a lot. We’ll take each game at a time and do the sums at the end of the group.”

Squad list for the European Championship 

Goalkeepers: Alessia Capelletti (Mozzanica), Nicole Lauria (Bologna), Alessia Piazza (Lugano);
Defenders: Martina Lenzini, Sara Mella, Beatrice Merlo (Inter Milano), Vanessa Panzeri (Como), Erika Santoro, Alice Tortelli (Fiorentina);
Midfielders: Arianna Caruso, Federica Cavicchia (Zurich), Giada Greggi, Marta Mascarello, Alice Regazzoli (Inter Milano);
Forwards: Sofia Cantore (Fiammamonza), Sofia Del Stabile (Tavagnacco), Benedetta Glionna (Fiammamonza), Gloria Marinelli (Perugia), Annamaria Serturini (Pink Sport Time).

Staff – Head of Delegation: Fiona May; Coach: Enrico Maria Sbardella; Assistant Coach: Elena Proserpio Marchetti; Secretary: Sabrina Filacchione; Fitness Coach Coordinator: Stefano D’Ottavio; Fitness Coach: Simone Mangieri; Goalkeeping Coach: Davide Quironi; Match Analyst: Antonio Gagliardi and Marco Mannucci; Doctor: Pierpaolo Rota; Physiotherapist: Emanuele Provini.

The Groups for the European Championship 

Group A: Northern Ireland, Germany, Scotland, Spain
Group B: Italy, The Netherlands, France, England

The Azzurrine’s fixtures

August 8th: Italy-England (Lurgan – 15:00 local time, 16:00 CEST)
August 11th: Italy-France (Belfast – 15:00 local time, 16:00 CEST)
August 14th: Italy-The Netherlands (Portadown – 15:00 local time, 16:00 CEST)

August 17th: Semi-finals
August 20th: Final

Schedule for the Women’s Under-19 National side 

Monday 7th August
12:00 Press conference (Coach and Captain)
15:00 Training

Tuesday 8th August
15:00 Italy vs. England
Mourneview Park, Lurgan

Wednesday 9th August  
10:30 Training

Thursday 10th August 
15:00 Training

Friday 11th August
15:00 Italy vs. France
Windsor Park, Belfast

Saturday 12th August
10:30 Training

Sunday 13th August
15:00 Training

Monday 14th August
15:00 The Netherlands vs. Italy
Shamrock Park, Portadown

FIGC Store