Italy vs. South Africa Women's World Cup Journey Continues After Tough Defeat
Italy is set to continue their Women's World Cup journey on Wednesday, facing South Africa after a tough 5-0 loss against Sweden that left the players emotionally affected. Despite the setback, Coach Milena Bertolini maintains an optimistic outlook, considering the defeat as an opportunity for the team to learn valuable lessons before their upcoming game in Wellington, New Zealand.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Bertolini emphasized the significance of focus and attention for the upcoming match, highlighting that every detail matters. Reflecting on the match against Sweden, she acknowledged the need for emotional improvement and expressed her belief that these challenges contribute to the team's overall growth and development.
Currently ranked 16th, the Italian team holds the second position in Group G with three points, thanks to their 1-0 victory over Argentina. Meanwhile, South Africa, ranked 54th, has demonstrated that FIFA rankings do not necessarily dictate outcomes, given the upsets witnessed in this World Cup.
South Africa's attacking prowess has been evident in their previous two games, where they experienced a 2-1 loss against third-ranked Sweden and managed a 2-2 draw with Argentina. Bertolini recognized the distinct skills and characteristics of the South African team, noting that Italy may not be the strongest physically. Nonetheless, she expressed satisfaction with her team's efforts, as they have been experimenting and finding positive solutions, particularly in terms of their attack.
Elena Linari, a defender from Roma, shared her perspective on the emotional impact of the defeat against Sweden, acknowledging that it was a challenging experience for her and her teammates. Despite this setback, Linari emphasized the importance of regrouping, starting afresh, and maintaining unity within the team. With a collective determination, she and her teammates approach the upcoming match against South Africa as if it were a final, fully committed to giving their all to achieve their goals.
Italy's history in the Women's World Cup has been characterized by inconsistency, with notable accomplishments, such as reaching the quarter-finals in 1991 and 2019, but also facing challenges, including failing to qualify for four consecutive tournaments from 2003 to 2015. Nevertheless, the team remains steadfast in making the most of their current opportunity and striving for success in the tournament.