Italy vs Netherlands Preview

Italy vs Netherlands Preview: The Battle Of The Shot-Shy

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

Italy vs China Preview

Italy vs China Preview: A Tense, Tight Affair To Test The Azzure

Italy will face China in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup, the clash on Tuesday evening at Montpellier’s Stade de la Mosson marking the first time the two nations have ever met at the game’s showpiece event.

Italy have won three of their last four matches at the tournament after winning just two of their first six games in the competition, while – since they reached the final back in 1999 – China have lost three of their last four knockout-stage games at the World Cup, never emerging further than the quarter-finals.

A place on that same stage is now at stake, with the eventual winners taking on either Netherlands or Japan, but first they will need to get through what should be an extremely difficult challenge for both sides. Read More

Italy vs Brazil

Italy vs Brazil Preview: A Classic To Conjure Memories Of 1982?

Italy may have already secured their place in the next round, but their final Group C encounter with Brazil still promises to be an intriguing clash as the latter also hope to advance. The Seleção will need to better Australia’s result against Jamaica to guarantee they remain in the competition, a tall order given the form of their next opponent.

Having reached the World Cup for the first time in 20 years, Italy have been one of the most surprising teams in France this summer, notching wins over Jamaica and Australia to sit comfortably atop the table with one round of matches remaining.

Milena Bertolini has been excellent thus far, the coach deploying her side in a basic 4-4-2 formation but constantly shifting her players around in order to exploit opposition weaknesses in each fixture. Read More

Jamaica vs Italy

Jamaica vs Italy Preview: Azzurre to seal knock-out spot?

After winning their opening match at the World Cup, Italy will be looking to continue a surprisingly good start when they take on Jamaica at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims. The Azzurre beat Australia 2-1 in their first fixture while their next opponent lost 3-0 to Brazil, but know all about dealing with adversity.

Jamaica had to navigate a notoriously tough path through the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, eventually securing a place in France after beating Panama on penalties to reach the tournament for the first time in their history.

Back in 2010, their national football federation cut funding for the women’s team and completely disbanded it, only for Cedella Marley to pick up the baton four years later. She became the team’s ambassador and funded the team through her father’s charity, the Bob Marley Foundation. Read More

Australia vs Italy

Australia vs Italy Preview: Azzurre peaking at the right time?

The Women’s World Cup continues with Australia vs Italy, a clash that will go a long way towards deciding which of these two nations advance to the next round, with Brazil and Jamaica rounding out Group C.

Australia arrive in France ranked as the 6th best team in the world and are the seeded side in this four-team pool, making them favourites to top the group. They are expected to win this opening match, despite the upheaval that followed the decision to sack Coach Alen Stajcic back in January.

Months of turmoil followed, but the Matildas are now led by former Australia international Ante Milicic. They won the inaugural Cup of Nations earlier this year yet went on to lose each of their two previous outings, beaten 5-3 by the United States and 3-0 by the Netherlands, meaning they will be looking to return to form against Italy. Read More