The Azzurre set to begin their World Cup qualifying campaign. Bertolini: “There’s plenty of enthusiasm”Italy Women ready to get down to work ahead of their showdown against Moldova on Friday 17 September
Monday, September 13, 2021
Italy Women, who met up at the Federal Technical Centre yesterday, will hold their first training session this afternoon as they start their preparations for their first two games in World Cup qualifying. At 17:30 CEST on Friday 17 September, the Azzurri will face Moldova at the Stadio Nereo Rocco in Trieste. Two days later, they’ll fly to Karlovac, where they’ll take on Croatia at 17:30 CEST on Tuesday 21 September.
With it being three months since they last put on the Italy shirt, it’s like the first day of school for the players called up by Milena Bertolini. There are plenty of positive feelings within the camp and the desire to join together as one to continue following a path of growth and achieve another vital objective: direct qualification for the next World Cup, which the nine first-place sides in the respective groups will accomplish (the teams who finish second will go down the playoff route). “We’re getting going again with plenty of enthusiasm and in the knowledge that we’re a strong team,” said the Head Coach during her press conference today. “We know how fantastic it’d be to take part in a World Cup: two years ago in France, we experienced indescribable emotions and we’ll do our utmost to do so again. Qualifying is a vital goal for the women’s game in Italy.”
In order to achieve their set objective, it’ll be important for the team to set off on the right foot without underestimating their opponents, starting from Moldova, who the Azzurri beat twice during their last World Cup qualifying campaign. “At an international level, women’s football is growing a lot: even the teams who haven’t been traditionally successful are improving quickly. On Friday, we’ll be up against a different side to the one we faced three years ago. We’ll have to play with humility and display high concentration levels, also because we know that September fixtures can be problematic given that our players haven’t yet reached peak condition. However, the path we’ve gone down is the right one, and I’m sure that we’ll be ready.”
No pressure, then, and just plenty of desire to do well: the same ingredients that were behind the men’s team’s European Championship triumph. “The lads did something fantastic. Their success will give us energy and push us to do even better,” concluded Bertolini.
Women’s World Cup qualifying
The winners of the nine qualifying groups will progress directly to the finals in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August 2023. The group runners-up take part in the UEFA play-offs in October 2022. In the play-offs, the three best runners-up will be seeded directly to round 2 of the play-offs. The six remaining runners-up contest three single-leg play-offs in round 1. The three winners from round 1 and the three teams seeded directly to round 2 will then compete in single-leg play-offs determined by a draw. The two play-off winners with the highest ranking (based on results in the qualifying group stage and round 2 play-offs) will qualify for the finals. The remaining play-off winner will compete in the inter-confederation play-offs fron 17 to 23 February 2023 in Australia and New Zealand.