Two Azzurre are “false positive”. Bertolini: “For now, we’ll focus on Denmark, then we’ll assess where we are”Having tested positive in swab tests conducted yesterday, the two players have since tested negative. They will be available for the match scheduled for tomorrow in Empoli
Monday, October 26, 2020
In the early afternoon, good news spread throughout the Women’s National Team training camp. The two players, who initially tested positive for Covid-19 after a series of swab tests were carried out yesterday at Coverciano, have since returned negative results from two molecular swab tests performed this morning with the rest of the group. For the two Azzurre, it seems to have been a 'false positive indication’ and they will subsequently be available at Coach Milena Bertolini’s discretion for the clash against Denmark scheduled for tomorrow (17:30 CET) at the Stadio Carlo Castellani in Empoli.
The game against the current European Championships Runners-Up is a crucial match in the fight for first place in Group B, which guarantees direct qualification to the knockout stages of the continental tournament. Last Wednesday's win against Israel launched the Danes into first place in the group, three points ahead of Italy, who have a game in hand. Denmark have a 100% record thus far and have scored 45 goals whilst conceding zero: this is the impressive form of Lars Sondergaard’s side, which is spearheaded by Chelsea star Pernille Harder, who has scored eight times in qualifying, level with Cristiana Girelli. However, Italy's track record is no less impressive; seven victories in seven games with one match in hand. The two clashes against Denmark will prove to be incredibly important (the second match is scheduled for 1 December in Viborg), following which the group’s fixture list will conclude with a match against Israel.
“The medical issues have been more prominent than the technical aspects surrounding this fixture,” Milena Bertolini emphasised in a videoconference. “The attention has been somewhat diverted from the game, but considering all that’s going on, I would it expect it to have gone like this.” The 5-0 win in Zenica a month ago was an important confidence boost: “the match against Bosnia gave us self-assurance, the girls were very keen to wear the Azzurre shirt once again after so long.”
Alia Guagni was forced to leave training after testing positive for COVID-19. Her withdrawal from the squad at the weekend through injury has reduced an already depleted team. Gama, Bergamaschi, Polli and Glionna are all out too. Yet another important absence will be the fans since in compliance with the last government directive, the match will be played behind closed doors. “Denmark,” warns the Head Coach, “are one of the major national teams in Europe, and we are not as of yet. We are making great progress and are accelerating hugely, but in order to close the gap with this strong side, we still have a lot of work to do. These two matches against Denmark will show us where we are.”
The recipe for success is the same as always: “Denmark play by focussing on our weak points; technique, tactics and a dynamic team spirit.”