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Italy is a nation that has seen continuous improvements in recent years. The 2019 World Cup was the first Italy had qualified for in 20 years and a blend of youth and experience here should see them secure a place in the knockout stages of the tournament.
This Italian squad is largely made up of Juventus stars, who made it five in a row this year in Serie A and impressed in the Champions League before a very close quarter-final defeat to eventual champions Lyon halted their progress. Italy will look to draw on the experience and relationship of players from this Juventus side in hopes of replicating a deep run here. Our trader Rob Jones takes you through what else to expect from the Azzurri.
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Manager – Milena Bertolini
Milena Bertolini won a number of major trophies at club level in Italy before taking the national job and leading her country to their first World Cup in 20 years. Her Italian side are extremely fluid in attack and are very comfortable at transitioning from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 formation.
Captain – Sara Gama
Sara Gama is captain for both club (Juventus) and country. Her presence brings a solidity to the back line like no other. With over 125 international caps, her importance to this side is immeasurable.
Star Player – Barbara Bonansea
Surprise, another Juventus player in Barbara Bonansea! While Cristiana Girelli will likely get most of the plaudits for her goalscoring stats, it is Bonansea who is the most important part of this Italian side. Technically outstanding, Bonansea can play in several positions allowing flexible shifts in formation. She is adept wide or central in a front three, can drop in as a 10 and can even play wide of a flat four in midfield.
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This looks to be the weakest group of the tournament, and it’s likely to be a two-horse race between the Italians and potential surprise package Iceland for second place in Group D. That makes their 14th July meeting in Manchester crucial for either side to progress.
France v Italy
Sunday 10th July, 8pm KO (New York Stadium, Rotherham)
TV: BBC Two & BBC iPlayer
Italy v Iceland
Thursday 14th July, 5pm KO (Man City Academy Stadium, Manchester)
TV: BBC Two & BBC iPlayer
Italy v Belgium
Monday 18th July, 8pm KO (Man City Academy Stadium, Manchester)
TV: BBC iPlayer
Goalkeepers: Francesca Durante (Inter Milan), Laura Giuliani (AC Milan), Katja Schroffenegger (Fiorentina).
Defenders: Elisa Bartoli (AS Roma), Valentina Bergamaschi (AC Milan), Lisa Boattin (Juventus), Lucia Di Guglielmo (AS Roma), Maria Luisa Filangeri (Sassuolo), Sara Gama (Juventus), Martina Lenzini (Juventus), Elena Linari (AS Roma).
Midfielders: Arianna Caruso (Juventus), Valentina Cernoia (Juventus), Aurora Galli (Everton), Manuela Giugliano (AS Roma), Martina Rosucci (Juventus), Flaminia Simonetti (Inter Milan).
Forwards: Barbara Bonansea (Juventus), Agnese Bonfantini (Juventus), Valentina Giacinti (Fiorentina), Cristiana Girelli (Juventus), Martina Piemonte (AC Milan), Daniela Sabatino (Fiorentina).
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