World Cup, the words of Milena Bertolini and Cristiana Girelli on the eve of Italy-Argentina

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World Cup, the words of Milena Bertolini and Cristiana Girelli on the eve of Italy-Argentina

“I expect a very difficult match, because Argentina has players who are good technically and character-wise they are very strong. The important thing will be the attitude and confidence in our qualities.” Italy women’s coach Milena Bertolini thus presented in the eve press conference the national team’s debut match at the Women’s World Cup, scheduled tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. Italian time in Auckland.

“In the last trainings we have found some tricks to face and put in difficulty our opponents,” continued the coach. “We will have to be pragmatic and essential, always trying to do the best and the easiest thing, especially under goal. The emotional aspect affects a lot in these matches, so it is better to play with simplicity.” Arianna Caruso, who has recovered from her right knee injury, will also be in the match. Widening the discourse, Bertolini also stressed that “this tournament should give continuity to our growth process. It is a path undertaken in 2019, ours is still a young movement and it is important to do well to bring more and more people closer to women’s soccer. To have qualified for two World Cups in a row is extraordinary.”

Azzurri captain Cristiana Girelli added, “I expect that from tomorrow the team will show what it showed in the preparation. We are all very focused, there is great awareness. In these years I have won with teams that, before any other quality, were a real group. The 2019 World Cup is the most striking example, there were not 11 female players but 23. I expect to find this spirit again because I believe it is fundamental. Ours is a tough group and this is a highly competitive competition. Tomorrow’s match will be a very important one, although not decisive. We will face a South American team, we know their character and intensity, which combined with technique can be a very dangerous weapon. It will also be a difficult match from the point of view of temperament, but we are preparing well and hope to face it in the best way.”

Meanwhile, in the first match of round G, that of the Italian women’s team, Olympic runner-up Sweden snatched a narrow victory in the opener against South Africa 2-1. The game was played in Wellington in incessant rain and temperatures around ten degrees, but this did not help the Scandinavians, who were forced to come back from a goal scored early in the second half by Hildah Magaia. In the 20th minute Sweden managed to equalize through Fridolina Rolfo, taking advantage of a defensive error by Lebogang Ramalepe, and finally overturning the situation in the 90th minute with a header goal by Amanda Ilestedt.

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