Nazionale A Femminile

Girelli and Bartoli ahead of Italy's showdown with Jamaica: "We haven't done anything yet"

At 18:00 CEST on Friday, the Azzurre will have the opportunity to qualify for the last 16 in Reims

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Girelli and Bartoli ahead of Italy's showdown with Jamaica:

With just over 48 hours to go until their match against Jamaica, Italy Women continue to train in Reims, where they’ll face the Reggae Girlz at the Stade Auguste-Delaune on Friday (kick-off 18:00 CEST). 10,000 tickets have been sold (one million have been purchased in total for the tournament’s 52 games) for the do-or-die clash for the Jamaicans, while Italy have the chance to progress to the round of 16 stage with one game to spare.

And while the three goals Brazil scored against them show that the Jamaican defence is far from impenetrable, the Azzurre can’t afford to lower their guard against a side that are now clinging on to their place in the World Cup. Particular attention needs to be paid to Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, who will provide the main threat to Italy’s defence, a backline which Elisa Bartoli could be included in. After coming on in the second half against Australia, she made a big contribution to Italy’s comeback. Bartoli was one of the player’s at today’s press conference, and she was joined by striker Cristiana Girelli, who currently sits on 29 goals for the Azzurre – the most out of any player in the group.

"Playing in the World Cup is a dream I’ve had since I was a young girl,” said the Roma defender. “Coming back to win in the 95th minute was fantastic and beating Australia has given us more fearlessness, strength and awareness. Now, we can’t afford to make the mistake of underestimating Jamaica, we need to take to the pitch with the same attitude that we had in our opening game. They are perhaps not perfect tactically and technically, but in terms of their physicality and running abilities, they are really strong. By playing as a team, we can cause them problems.”

Born and raised in Rome, Elisa’s nickname is ‘The Gladiator’. When you see her play, it’s easy to see why: “It’s because of the determination I show out on the pitch. My philosophy in life is to do what I need to do in the best possible way, I don’t let myself be influenced by any prejudices people might have.”

Her sister, Claudia has her own surf school in Cerveteri (“but I don’t surf, it’s dangerous”), she hugely admires Totti and De Rossi (“I cried when they said goodbye”) and has one particular role model: “I love Cafù, he was an attacking full-back with great technical ability. He was a team player.”

On Friday, she’ll come up against Roma teammates Allyson Swaby (defender) and Trudi Carter (forward): “Their physical capabilities will cause us problems. They’re friendly and cheerful, and they’ve settled down in Rome well.” As regards the teams to avoid later on in the tournament, she made her opinion clear: “Germany are always difficult to play against, while France have also impressed me.”

Cristiana Girelli also mentioned that Jamaica shouldn’t be underestimated: “After our win against Australia, there was a wave of enthusiasm – it was a great effort from us. However, we are still to do anything yet and need to keep our feet on the ground. Jamaica are a tough side to face, but we know that a win would ensure our qualification from the group.”

She considers herself to be a cheerful and upbeat person, and all of her loved ones were at the stadium supporting her: “My parents, my sister, my niece and my brother-in-law were all there. Meeting their eyes and seeing them sing the national anthem was emotional. We hope that we progress, then they can join me again.”

Always a selfless player out on the pitch, Cristiana isn’t the type of player who only lives for goals: “I think that in modern football a striker needs to be useful to the team, sometimes I’m accused of running too much. In the first half against Australia, we were a little bit tentative, with the emotions that come with the opening game affecting us somewhat. In the second half, we showed less fear. As for me, it was a game where I had to show a spirit of sacrifice.”

After the team’s victory against Australia, she joined her teammates in listening to the Macarena: “A song from 20 years ago, we like such music: it promotes unity and helps us feel the necessary determination prior to taking to the pitch.” Girelli also likes to look the part when playing: “I like maintaining my appearance, we’re women and many of us put our makeup on before we play. I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

National Team schedule (all times CEST)

Wednesday 12 June

13:00 – Lunch

Followed by a press conference with a player at the Hotel

18:00 – Training at the Stadio Jean Bucton (behind closed doors)

Thursday 13 June

11:00 – Training at the Stadio Jean Bucton (first 15 minutes open to public)

18:30 – Press conference at the Stadio Auguste Delaune (Head Coach and a player)

19:00 - Walkaround

Friday 14 June

18:00 – Jamaica vs. Italy (Stadio Auguste Delaune)

Followed by press conference

Saturday 15 June

10:00 – Training (first 15 minutes open to public)

Followed by press commitments

12:30 – Lunch

14:00 – Bus for Lille

16:45 – Arrival in Lille

Sunday 16 June

12:30 – Lunch

Followed by a press conference with a player at the Hotel

18:00 – Training at Le Stadium in Villeneuve d’Ascq (behind closed doors)

Monday 17 June

17:00 – Press conference at the Stadio du Hainaut (Head Coach and a player)

19:00 – Training at Le Stadium in Villeneuve d’Ascq (first 15 minutes open to public)

Tuesday 18 June

21:00 – Italy vs. Brasile (Stadio du Hainaut)

Followed by press conference

N.B. The schedule could be subject to changes