Nazionale A Femminile

Euro 2022 qualifying, Italy fall to defeat against Denmark

The Danes run out 3-1 winners at the Stadio Carlo Castellani. Bertolini: “We had the wrong attitude at the start, but I’ve seen improvements and positive things with our upcoming games in mind”

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Euro 2022 qualifying, Italy fall to defeat against Denmark

It’s a setback that makes life a bit more difficult for the Azzurre in their quest to qualify for next summer’s European Championship in England. At the Stadio Carlo Castellani in Empoli, Italy were defeated 3-1 by a Denmark side who were superior to Milena Bertolini's girls for an hour of play. Now, it will take a huge footballing feat to finish first in the group, a position that would ensure qualification to the next European Championship: beating Israel in the next game and overcoming Denmark on 1 December, in Viborg, with Italy needing to overturn the goal difference in direct matches, in this case against the Danes.

The best three runners-up of the nine qualifying groups will travel to England and the last three places will be assigned through play-offs involving the remaining runners-up of the various groups. This is why the last two fixtures of the group stage remain important.

"The start of the match was too hesitant on our part: we got our attitude wrong," said Head Coach Milena Bertolini. "We showed too much fear. Paradoxically, we woke up after the second goal went in and immediately showed our qualities going forward. Individual mistakes? They can happen, but I still saw good things with our upcoming qualifying matches in mind."

The game. Italy seemed to start well in the very first stages of the game, pushed by Bonansea's efforts: her attempt from distance with barely a minute gone was saved by Abel.

With five minutes on the clock, the scoreline changed. The feared Harder, who had already scored eight goals in eight qualifying games, had an attempt on goal that forced Giuliani into a save; it was from the resulting corner that Denmark found the opener: there was a mix-up in communication between the Juventus goalkeeper and Cristiana Girelli, resulting in Sorenson finding the back of the net directly from the corner.

Italy looked affected by the goal and struggled to gain momentum. In the 14th minute, Harder sent the ball high after getting the better of the Azzurre backline, and, just three minutes later, the Chelsea forward whipped in a beautiful cross that Nadim directed into the back of the net with a diving header to make the score 0-2.

Head Coach Bertolini tried to change the course of an extremely complicated game by swapping wingers Cernoia and Bonansea, but Denmark remained rapid and clinical on the counter whenever they got their chance. At the end of the first half, Italy managed to increase the pressure on Denmark as Bonansea (40') and Giacinti (43') had chances, but Abel remained an impenetrable wall.

At the beginning of the second half, Bertolini replaced Rosucci with Galli in order to try to breathe new life to Italy's midfield, but a rude awakening came barely after the start of the second half: a corner was converted by Nadim, who put Denmark 0-3 up.

On the hour mark, Giacinti managed to stay onside and tuck away a through ball from Bonansea: the Rossoneri forward beat the goalkeeper and reduced the deficit (1-3), the first goal that the Danes had conceded during their qualifying campaign.

The Azzurre continued believing and attempted to score again by bringing on Tucceri Cimini in place of Girelli. They pushed forward with a tandem attack of Giacinti and Bonansea. Despite the increased pressure, however, Denmark guarded their goal carefully and maintained their two-goal advantage.

In a little over than a month (in Vilborg, on 1 December). the two sides will face each other again, in a clash that will be decisive for the Azzurre in their fight to reach the final tournament in England.

Italy 1-3 Denmark

ITALY: Giuliani; Bartoli, Linari, Salvai, Boattin; Cernoia (89' Mascarello), Giugliano, Rosucci (46' Galli), Bonansea; Giacinti (80' Tarenzi), Girelli (64' Tucceri Cimini). Substitutes: Schroffenegger, Durante, Tortelli, Di Guglielmo, Caloia, Sabatino, Fusetti, Caruso. Coach: Bertolini

DENMARK: Abel; Sevecke, Boye Sorensen, Veje; Sorensen (90' Thogersen), Troelsgaard (93' Christiansen), Junge Pedersen, Svava (90' Pedersen); Larsen S. (71' Snerle), Harder, Nadim (71' Bruun) Substitutes: Christensen, Larsen K., Moller Holdt, Madsen, Andersen, Thomsen, Moller. Coach: Sondergaard

REFEREE: Foster (WAL). Assistants: Griffiths (WAL) and Williams (WAL). Fourth Official: Welch

GOALS: 6’ Sorensen, 17’, 47’ Nadim, 60’ Giacinti

CARDS – Bookings: Bartoli, Giacinti, Boye Sorensen and Christiansen