The Azzurre to play rearranged Euro qualifying match against Israel in Florence on 24 FebruaryItaly will be looking to secure automatic qualification to next summer’s tournament in England at the same stadium where they made it through to the 2019 World Cup in France
Thursday, January 7, 2021
The Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence will host Italy vs. Israel at 17:30 CET on Wednesday 24 February, the Azzurre’s last qualifying match for the 2022 European Championship in England. The match, which was originally scheduled to take place on 17 September at the Stadio Castellani in Empoli, was previously postponed by UEFA due to the measures put in place by the Israeli government to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
For the third time in their history, Italy Women will take to the pitch in Florence. This follows on from their 1-1 friendly draw against England in January 1995 and their 3-0 victory over Portugal in June 2018, thanks to which they qualified for the 2019 World Cup in France.
Currently second in Group B on 22 points, Italy can still directly qualify for next summer’s Euros as one of the three best runners-up from the nine groups. In order to avoid the playoffs, the Azzurre must beat Israel. A six-goal victory would guarantee automatic qualification. If they don’t achieve this, Bertolini’s side would be reliant on favourable results from the other groups.
Meanwhile, considering the extraordinary success of the 2019 edition and the desire to continue to foster the growth of the women’s game, FIFA have decided to increase the number of teams that will participate in the next World Cup from 24 to 32. FIFA have also confirmed the number of slots that each of the respective confederations will receive for the 2023 edition of the tournament: eleven for UEFA (Europe), five for the AFC (Asia), four for CAF (Africa) and CONCACAF (North and Central America), three for CONMEBOL (South America). As hosts, Australia and New Zealand will automatically qualify, while the remaining three slots will be decided through a global play-off tournament involving ten teams (two slots for the AFC, two for the CAF, two for CONCACAF, two for CONMEBOL, one for the OFC (Oceania) and one for UEFA).
“It’s a decision that has been made with the development of the women’s game in mind,” said Head Coach Bertolini. “It’s the natural progression of a movement that is growing in all countries.”