Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final between Italy and the Netherlands marks an incredible accomplishment for both sides. The Azzurre have only once reached this stage before – back in 1991 – while their orange-clad opponents have never before got past the round of 16, meaning the two teams are already making a major impact this summer.
“We really believe this side has allowed the women’s game to break new ground back home,” said Italy head coach Milena Bertolini after her side eliminated China in their last outing. “We can see that from the viewing figures, what we see in the press and from the messages we receive from back home. I know cultural changes take a lot of time, but this team are able to break down some of those prejudices and they are enacting change and that’s their mission.”
Indeed it is, but Bertolini will also have her players fully focused on the task at hand, proving in the aforementioned victory over China that they are one of the tournaments most tactically aware teams. Earlier matches had seen Italy use a 4-3-1-2 formation, but the coach switched that in the last 16, dropping Aurora Galli in favour of Valentina Bergamaschi and opting for a 4-2-3-1 framework from the outset. Read More