Focus firmly on the Euros. Sbardella: “We want to go all the way”

Focus firmly on the Euros. Sbardella: “We want to go all the way”

It is the start of what will hopefully be an exciting adventure for the Under-19 National Women’s Team, who are now edging ever closer to the upcoming European Championship. As of yesterday, the team have started their second stage of preparations, after initially training at Formia from the 17th to the 27th July. This morning, the 19 Azzurrine selected by coach Enrico Sbardella posed for their official photos, before then heading out onto the training pitch for a double session. The squad will travel to Northern Ireland on Friday, before then taking part in their tournament debut against England in Lurgan on Tuesday 8th August. Their second game will be an equally tough task against reigning champions France on Friday 11th in Belfast, whilst their final group match will be against the Netherlands on Monday 14th August in Portadown.

“It is a very balanced group,” said Sbardella. “It was good to have avoided both Germany and Spain, who are the main favourites for the tournament. France and the Netherlands are two strong teams, but are both within our reach. England have that something extra from a physical point of view and we must try to close this gap by doing better in terms of tactics.”

The first two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals, whilst the eventual top four at the tournament will also qualify for next year’s World Cup in France: “Our objective is to finish within the top four,” Sbardella continued. “It will be hard but we will try repeat what we did in 2013 with the Under-17s (Italy finished in third place at the European Championship and then secured Bronze at the World Cup in Costa Rica), well aware that three finals await us.”

Italy lifted the European Championship for the first and only time back in 2008, this time qualifying for the tournament after an extra-time win over Norway helped Sbardella’s side secure first place in Group 5: “Prior to the game against Norway the girls were a bit downbeat,” said Head of Delegation Fiona May. “I spurred them on by saying that in sport you always need to keep believing right until the very end and here we are now, ready to take part in an important tournament. The group is very competitive, but we will try to put in a solid performance and the girls know that they can always count on me.”

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 

Wednesday 2nd August
10:00 Gym – Physiotherapy
17:30 Training

Thursday 3rd August
10:00 Training
17:30 Training

Friday 4th August  
11:15 Flight from Roma to Dublin
13:35  Arrive in Dublin
18:00  Training (indoor)

Saturday 5th August
15:00 Training

Sunday 6th August
15:00 Training

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

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