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2019 World Cup Preview: Italy

Why so blue?

Italy Women v Switzerland Women - International Friendly Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Italy enters this tournament hoping to do better than their last place group finish at the 2017 Euros in the Netherlands. That will probably happen!

The Team

To be brutally honest, there’s not a lot here. The players with the two largest totals of international goals have 27 and 17, and the group of forwards averages almost 30 years of age, and one of them, Valentina Giacinti, is 25. Not does it not look good for this tournament, Italy really needs some of its younger, inexperienced players to rise over the next couple of years.

How They’ve Fared

This is Italy’s third World Cup, and their best finish is making it to the knockout stage in 1991.

How They Qualified

Italy won Group 6, winning seven of their eight games and besting Belgium by two points.

Group

C, with Australia, Brazil, and Jamaica.

Player You Know

You might know Cristiana Girelli, leading active scorer with 27 goals, including a late winner against Sweden to give Italy their only points at the 2017 Euros. At 29, she’s credited with just 51 caps, but she has an impressive club goal scoring record. Juventus’ number 10 is credited with nine goals in just 15 games for her current club, and 98 in 115 for her previous club, Brescia, where she played for six seasons. To be fair, that is probably more of a reflection of the quality of Italy’s top tier, but those are staggering numbers in any case.

Player You’ll Know Soon

At 21 years of age, Manuela Giugliano is one of the youngest Italians going to France, but she has more caps (20) than some of the players in their mid-20s and 30s on the team. The midfielder is credited with three international goals at the senior level, after bursting onto the scene with 14 goals in 22 U-17 games. I doubt she’ll duplicate the success of her 2014 U-17 team, which finished third at both the World Cup and Euros, but she will be a big part of any Italy success as the years go on.

World Cup Outlook

Italy should beat Jamaica in their group stage match, but I don’t see them doing any more than that.