The Women’s National Team are set to face Belgium at the Stadio Paolo Mazza in Ferrara at 18:00 CEST in a key qualifier for the 2019 World Cup in France. Top of Group 6 and give points ahead of Belgium who have a game in hand, Italy have won all of their first five with 13 goals scored and just one conceded and the most recent result was a 3-1 win in Moldova. Given that Belgium were held to a draw in their last match against Portugal, a draw could prove to be a positive result but Milena Bertolini doesn’t want to make calculations.
“Matches in women’s football are attractive and exciting because there aren’t too many tactics in advance, calculations aren’t made because we’re playing to win aware that the bar is higher for these three games. Tomorrow’s is an important match because Belgium are the group favourite but it’s not decisive because there are three more games. Ferrara should be ready for a good game of football, en exciting match-up.”
Lots of boys and girls from the FIGC’s Youth Section and local clubs are expected to fill the stands. Around 2,000 tickets are still available for the curva which can be picked up from the ticket office by the Tribuna Sud from 13:00 CEST up until kick-off.
“There will be changes compared to the Moldova game,” added Bertolini. “There’s a need to rest after playing two games in a few days. Belgium are a strong team who made important steps forward in women’s football in recent years. Their strength comes from their physicality and attitude. Again tomorrow, we’ll give our all with the knowledge that reaching the World Cup would be the reward for lots of sacrifices.
The match in Ferrara will be a special one for Sara Gama: The captain has reached 100 caps and will be recognised for the achievement before the match. “For me, it’s a nice landmark but the first thought is to bring home the result,” said the Juventus defender.
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.
Table: ITALY 15 points (5 matches played), Belgium 10 (4), Portugal 4 (4), Romania 3 (4), Moldova 0 (5).