16 April 2021
Republic of Ireland friendly presented in Reggio Emilia. Bertolini: "I’m emotional and happy to be here"The Coach returns home as the Panini stickers for the World Cup featuring the Azzurre were also presented. Gravina and Mancini to attend tomorrow.
Monday, April 8, 2019
Following the 1-1 draw on Friday in Lublin against Poland, the Women’s National Team’s preparations for the World Cup continue in Reggio Emilia. The Azzurre trained yesterday in Rolo with FIGC CEO Marco Brunelli watching on and they will train again this afternoon ahead of the match at 18:30 CET against the Republic of Ireland at the Stadio Città del Tricolore. It’s a special occasion for the Coach Milena Bertolini, who was born in Correggio and who developed as a player at Reggiana. Tomorrow, President Gabriele Gravina, CEO Marco Brunelli, Coach Roberto Mancini and Under-21 Coach Luigi Di Biagio will be in attendance to support the team.
"I’m very emotional and happy to be here for one of the final World Cup warm-up games," said Milena Bertolini at the pre-match press conference. I experienced everything in women’s football here in Reggio Emilia, as a player, as a coach and then with my political and social work. This is a city with a great tradition in women’s football and perhaps the most famous Italian player Betty Vignotto was from here. For me, it’s a cause of great satisfaction that so many children and Reggiani will be out to see us tomorrow. This test will help me to see who can make the World Cup squad. We’ll face a very physical side who are similar to our opponents in France (Australia, Jamaica and Brazil) and we’ll look to play a great game."
The Irish are currently 31st in the FIFA Ranking, although they didn’t manage to qualify for the World Cup. This will be the fifth match in Reggio Emilia for the Women’s National Team. In the four previous meetings, Italy have won three (2-0 against France in 1988, 4-1 against Switzerland in 1989 and 3-1 against Northern Ireland in April 2016). The other result was a 2-3 loss to Denmark in 1989. Once again, women’s football will feature at the Città del Tricolore, which hosted the UEFA Women’s Champions League final on 26 May 2016 between Wolfsburg and Lyon, with the French side winning on penalties with over 17,000 fans in attendance at the match. There was also a fly-past by the Air Force prior to kick-off. This time, the Filarmonica Città del Tricolore band will be there to play the Italian and Irish national anthems.
"Hosting Italy is a cause of pride for us," said the Mayor of Reggio Emilia Luca Vecchi. "We’ve hosted lots of big international sporting events, including the Women’s Champions League final. The whole city will be supporting Italy and Milena, who we want to congratulate for the work she is doing and has done for Reggio Emilia when she was President of the Foundation for Sport. I’m convinced that she will continue to lead the team with great assurance, representing the best of the Reggiano spirit."
The Azzurre’s most recent match in Reggio Emilia was a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland in April 2016. "I was there and we were very warmly welcomed back then too" said the captain Sara Gama. "I was also here for the Champions League final, which was an incredible celebration in front of thousands of spectators. We’re happy to play in Reggio Emilia and we know that it’s an important game for us and for our Coach."