Women’s Euro 2022 team guide No 16: Italy | Women’s Euro 2022

This article is part of the Guardian’s Women’s Euro 2022 Experts’ Network, a cooperation between some of the best media organizations from the 16 countries who have qualified. theguardian.com is running previews from two countries each day in the run-up to the tournament kicking off on 6 July.

Overview

The team that impressed the world by surprisingly reaching the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup is back, with the same core group of players and some young tyros. This could be the last chance for this golden generation to make their mark but in some ways a European Championship could be even more difficult than a World Cup and the bookmakers consider Italy eight teams likelier favorites for the tournament.

Italy qualified after dropping points only to eventual group winners Denmark, conceding only five goals and scoring 37 in a group containing Bosnia-Herzegovina, Malta, Israel and Georgia. Nine of these goals were scored by the Juventus forward Cristiana Girelli. Qualification was only confirmed in the last group game, played in Florence against Israel. The Azzurre had to win with a two-goal margin to avoid the playoffs as one of the second-placed sides with the best records. They won 12-0.

“At the European Championship the Italians have to support and cheer us,” said coach Milena Bertolini. “However, we have to work hard. It will be a beautiful Euros for the quality of the game and a further opportunity for women’s football to grow. We have to go there as prepared as we can, making sacrifices, but the girls know it. I see a great soul in this national team. ”

From a tactical point of view Italy generally play 4-3-3, with Manuela Giugliano a deep-lying playmaker in midfield. The forward three, led by Girelli, are dynamic and mobile, interchanging positions.