Women's League in Italy

Discussion in 'Women's International' started by bzygo, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
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    Kosovare Asllani at Milan AC is now official.

    A big market hit for sure, but not enough to catch up with Juventus and Roma in my opinion. At least Milan is making bold moves to close the gap: other top teams in the league (Sassuolo, understandably given their limited budget, and Inter) are having quite a flat market so far; they're maybe waiting for the end of Euro 2022 to have a bigger picture, but couldn't it be a little late by then? :cautious:
     
  2. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
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    Nat'l Team:
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    Yesterday, Italy U-19 had a 2-2 draw vs France at the Euro Championship (Nicole Arcangeli scored a brace, both goals from PK, as the one she had scored vs Spain :alien:). Italy could happen to advance to semifinals anyway, but it's not in their hands anymore; they have to win and to shore up their goal difference vs Czech Republic on Sunday while hoping that Spain beat France at the same time (a draw between Spain and France would be enough to eliminate Italy and it looks like the most likely result).

    Highlights of the match:

     
  3. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
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    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
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    Asllani's contract is apparently for two seasons, until 30th of June of 2024.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
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    Italy Senior NT manage to keep a 1-1 draw vs Spain in the last friendly match before Euro 2022. Spain dominated most of the game, but it was actually Italy who went ahead early in 2nf Half, with a goal by Valentina Bergamaschi from CK action (the first CK Italy took, after Spain had already taken 7 or such in 1st Half). Later, Spain hit the crossbar with Patri Guijarro and finally managed to equalize with Alexia Putellas; but their performance was anyway less dominant in 2nd Half, maybe also because of the 6 substituions per team along that half, and Italy even had some occasional counter-attack chances. All in all, it was sure a good result for #14 Italy vs #7 Spain and a very good preparation for the debut Match of the tournament vs #3 France, who could look quite similar in terms of opponent's superiority.

    Later, I'll post highlights as soon as available, but I want to point out that, after this game, I am quite sure I figured out why Milena Bertolini finally decided to keep in the roster an arguably fringe-player as Martina Piemonte, who replaced Cristiana Girelli in the middle of 2nd Half: with her massive 1,80 cm x 70 Kg, Piemonte is the kind of physical presence in the forward-line that teams like Italy tend to sorely miss; it's very difficult to take away the ball from her and she wins most of her tackles by just muscling the opponent out. Of course she poses no particular problems to teams who traditionally have a lot of big and tall DFs, but she can be a key-weapon against others and otherwise help us reach some vague kind of physical parity. :ninja:
     
  5. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
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    Highlights now available :coffee::




    In the post-match interviews, Milena Bertolini said that it's playing vs stronger opponents as Spain that can make a team better: let's hope it works, because I see us easy succomb vs France. :unsure: As I previously said, I can feel the enthusiasm of the players (especially because this friendly match, as Elena Linari pointed out, was played on the same day when Italian Women's League officially becomes professional), but I've got the impression that there is a little too much optimism around, as if Italy could easily reach top 4 in this tournament, when there are so many teams in this Euro who are definitely better than us. :cautious:

     
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  6. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
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    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
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    And as expected Spain and France posted a 1-1 draw, that makes Italy's win useless. :rolleyes:

    Italy's dominance vs Czech Republic was more impressive than the final score suggests: there were literally dozen of shots for Italy and the Corner-Kicks' count was 16 to 0. In the end, they managed to reach that 4-0 win that would have see them advance to the semi-finals if only France had lost, even by the minimal margin. But the brace by Nicole Arcangeli (a bright future for her for sure) and the single goals by Chiara Beccari and Tori Dellaperuta weren't enough. :unsure:

    I'll post highlights later when available because they're worth watching and I think some of these Italian players will grew into classy senior-players. :ninja:
     
  7. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
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    Valentina Cernoia won't be available for tonight's debut match at Euro 2022: she didn't even left Blakcburn to Rotherham, where the match will take place, stopped by some generic and unspecified "physical problems". :cautious:

    Her absence will sting, especially because she's a set-pieces' specialist.

    Of course, the clash vs France will be the most difficult match for Italy at group stage: i'd be content with a draw, since I've got the impression that France is way ahead of us, not just in FIFA Women's rankings, but in general overall quality. :unsure:
     
  8. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
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    The highlights of the U-19 match vs Czech Republic were due; here they are:




    The tournament ended yesterday with Spain beating Norway by 2-1 in the final: Spain superiority had been obvious vs Italy also and I guess we were unlucky to get them and France in our group.

    If it can be of any consolation, Nicole Arcangeli ended up the top-scorer of the final stage of the competition with 5 goals. :)
     
  9. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
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    Nat'l Team:
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    Well, this is a case when I hate to have to say "I told you so", but I had repeated on multiple threads that there were too many teams in this Euro 2022 tournament that were way stronger than Italy to justify the unreasonably optimistic approach to this tournament by the team and especially by the media (in particular those who had never followed women's football at all in the past, and were only basing their predictions on the breakthrough WWC from 3 years ago, where Italy had just one sort of upset by beating Australia, but then procedeed to only win with Jamaica and with a back then poorly coached China, but lost to Brazil and crashed out against Netherlands).

    I guess tonight's debacle opened somene's eyes and made clear that #14 Italy can't compete yet with #3 France.

    Other teams I don't think Italy can't realistically compete with yet are #2Sweden, #4Netherlands and most probably #5Germany and #7Spain (despite the draw in the friendly match from one week ago).

    The bottom line is: Italy will probably advance from group D, then their torunament will end at quarter-finals. Anything more would be out of the realm of simple upset and there in the realm of supernatural. It looks like Italy was deluded instead by a draw vs Sweden in the final of Algarve Cup.

    I'll probably post highlights as soon as available, despite the fact that they would be better been hidden.:x3:
     
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  10. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
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    As I had promised, highlights of the match (Italian federation wasn't in a hurry to upload them :rolleyes:):



    After watching Norway vs England... well, we weren't so bad after all, were we? :laugh:
     
  11. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
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    Nat'l Team:
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    #1586 blissett, Jul 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2022
    Italy-Iceland 1-1.

    I basically said everything on the Group D thread. Iceland could have scored 2-0 and they would have been deserving winners, 2nd Half Italy, with Bonansea, was anyway better: not only they equalized, but they could have won in last half-hour of the game (Bonansea hit the post). All in all it seems like the draw was a fair result.

    But there were many negative signs:
    1) confused line-up: Bertolini, who is normally a sound coach, should anyway stick to the obvious; everytime she feels compelled to substantial and revolutionary changes, she basically fails (see the first leg vs Switzerland in WWC 2023 qualifiers, where the covid-emergency forced her hand, but she anyway chose an unreasonable defense-line of 3 players, while moving Linari to the midfield :confused:). This time she decided that the line-up from the 2nd half vs France could do and, while some changes were good, for instance Simonetti and Rosucci in the midfield, others were very questionable, as starting Piemonte over Girelli or Bonansea. Handicapping ourselves by not starting Bonansea, in particular, was inexplicable;
    2) mental fragility: the players passed the days between the loss vs France and today claiming that "they were going to show who they really are", as if we were going to trash Iceland by 5-1; then, on the pitch, they almost had a nervous breakdown after initial Iceland's advantage. My impression is that they mentally approached the whole tournament, an every single game so far, the wrong way, and it shows on the pitch;
    3) questionable physical fitness: it's not only that most teams have players who are bigger, faster, stronger than ours; it's that we keep losing 2nd balls because we're slow, losing tackles because we're soft, losing runs beacuse we're not fresh. That's worrying, at the beginning of a tournament;
    4) players' selection: we have too many FWs and not enough MFs. What's the point of bringing Bonfantini, if she has Girelli, Bonansea, Giacinti, Piemonte and even Sabatino ahead of her? A winger as Serturini or a good dribbler in the midfield as Greggi would have been much more useful! Or what are our realistic options to cover all of the different roles in defense (where Gama is looking royally out of shape, giving away at least one goal per game and making unnecessary fouls?).

    we could anyway advance on the back of France eventually winning all of their games (beating Belgium won't be anyway trivial for us), but I guess it's honest to admit that we can't possibly go beyond the quarter-finals. :unsure:

    I am going to try to post highlights later, although I assume they will be geo-blocked.
     
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  12. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
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    Although I am sure they will be geo-blocked, I posted anyway the highlights from Icaland-Italy:




    Everyone says Italy will advance by beating Belgium, but Iceland is a good team and I don't completely rule out that they can win vs a relaxed and already qualified France. :unsure: We've seen them falter yesterday vs arguably weaker Belgium in 2nd Half and in a "must win" game to secure the first place in the group; why couldn't it happen again vs a motivated, athletic and quite well organized Iceland team?
     
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  13. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
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    ...and in the end it turns out I hadn't been too much pessimistic at all, I had even been optimistic instead. :eek: Not only there were 4-5 teams way better than Italy at this tournament: according to the last place in our group there were way more than that.

    Now, I am of course sorry that the team crashed out this humiliating way and I'll admit it was a surprise even for me that it didn't manage to advance from group stage (although, unlike others, I was aware it wasn't necessarily an easy task), but probably a reality-check was needed for this group (and for the media around them). On the 8th of July, Milena Bertolini in a press conference was answering this way to a question about Italy's target: "We're going to pass the group stage and then we're going to talk about targets". On the 9th of July, the day before our debut vs France, captain Sara Gama was claiming: "The target is thinking game by game and, for a start, to advace from the group stage. If we do, there are no limits at out potential targets".

    Now, every team at a tournament will say that they're going to do good and that they believe in themselves and in their group, but what I perceived around Italy's team was some kind of overconfidence. Despite all the claims that we were going "game by game", everyone was already thinking at the games beyond group stage, as if it was a given that we were going to advance (and, mind, I blame the media at least as much as the team and management: the media, and the federation, were needing a "palatable" product, for a set of reason that I already explained ad nauseam, and the team basically fell to them).

    Now, for sure I don't claim Milena Bertolini has to be sacked, or even just discussed. We're in the middle of a qualification process for WWC 2023 and we're clearly ahead in our group, just needing two wins vs minor teams (ok, one of them not so minor, Romania) to qualify. Unless we fail winning these games, any consideration about a possible change at the helm will be pushed back to 2023, after the World Cup.

    And I'd like to stress that Italy's final placement in this tournament, if disappointing, is not so far from what could be reasonably expected from our country. According to FIFA's ranking, Italy was barely the top 8 team at this Euro 2022; that they finish out of top 8 is just mildly surprising (if there were any teams that you could see failing to confirm their top 8 position, it was of course the lowest ones in this lot: and in fact #7 Norway and #8 Italy were replaced by #11 Belgium and #13 Austria; I am of course extrapolating these position by the FIFA Women's Ranking, just considering Euro teams from this chart). So it's not like Italy was a potential contender for the title that criminally crashed out when they were expected to make top 4; they sure underperformed, but only slightly (unless, of course, they were unreasonably believing to be a contender for the title).
    For a nation that only has a base of 30.000 women players (!) o_O, Italy was basically in line with what could be reasonably predicted. The growth of the league and of the movement in the last 4-5 years, Juventus' successful run in Champions' League, the decent advancement of the National Team from #20-something to #15-something in the world, were all welcomed, but they created an expectation of unlimited progress that, at least at the moment, doesn't match with reality.

    So, it's not time to tear everything down and to start from scratch: it would be, if Italy had crashed out of this tournament after entering it as a top-nation with legitimate ambitions for the title, a solid structure and league behind them, a long tradition at the high level and a huge base of women playing the sport. Basically, if Italy were Germany, it would make sense to be back at square one and rebuild everything from scratch. But we're not Germany at all. So, the only thing to do right now is to let Bertolini reflect and work on her group of players and to hope for the best.

    As I said above, I guess the reality-check was precious and it will change the approach of the team to the next games, where the spirit that had led the team to their recent developments will be maybe found again. Also, the urgency of integrating new young players into the group of veterans Bertolini basically relied to for this tournament is obvious: Sara Gama was totally out of shape, Barbara Bonansea, despite moments of brilliance was gassed at the end of yesterday's game (and she killed a pair of attacks in the last minutes of the game by missing a control or a cross because she apparently hadn't a clear mind anymore), Cristiana Girelli had an incredible work rate but she didn't manage to score a single goal.
    Unluckily, the youngest options don't seem to be at the same level of these players (or at least not yet), but there is no choice: the oldest players will need to be slowly phased out. Maybe this is not a job for 2023, but it's anyway a job that needs to be done, so better to start it right now.

    Also, something will need to be changed at the strategic level. I won't go into details here, but sometimes the in-game management seemed quite improvised, like some kind of wishful thinking spurred by the heat of the moment. I remember a sentence credited to Nils Liedholm: as a coach, when he absolutely had to score in a game, he was said to sub-out a forward and to replace him with a miedfielder. Yesterday, at some point, we had on the pitch at the same time 4 of the 6 players listed as Forwards in our roster: Valentina Giacinti, Barbara Bonansea, Agnese Bonfantini and Daniela Sabatino, plus other mostly offensive players as Valentina Bergamaschi and Valentina Cernoia. Of course they weren't all played on the offense-line, but anyway did this led us to score goals or did it lead to more confusion? :cautious:

    Sorry for the very long post, and I hope it will be of some interest for someone here on these boards.

    As usual, I am going to post highlights of yesterday's game as soon as available.
     
  14. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
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    As promised, here are the highlights of the match:




    The aftermatch of this debacle is hard, especially because a lot of people who had never followed women's football in the past are now weighing in their unreasonable expectations. :x3:

    Some of them, of course, have even started discussing Milena Bertolini, thus seamleassly traslating to women's football the ways of men's football, where, when in doubt, you sack the coach. I stand by what I wrote earlier: if Roberto Mancini remains in charge of the men's team despite losing the World Cup qualifier to North Macedonia, I don't see why Bertolini should resign. We're in the middle of the qualification process for WWC 2023 and we're ahead: it's sure not a moment for a trial to the coach and to the team; it's time to regroup and to prepare for the future step by step, not with a sudden revolution; after the World Cup, it will be time to re-evaluate everything, after a good year of pondering and studying the best solution.

    Those who are critical to this coach easy forget that this is basically the level of Italian women's football: it can sometimes happen that it punches above its weight, but at the moment you just can't expect from an Italian women's NT's coach that he/she can compete with movements like France, Germany, England, Sweden that are so much ahead of us in basically any department (number of players in the country, tradition at high level, quality of the league, quality of the players, physical conditioning, you name it!). Blaming the coach for not reaching top 8 at the Euro is like blaming the pilot of a sub-par racing-car for not making top 3 at a GP: give him a better car, before judging him!
     
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  15. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
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    Valentina Giacinti at Roma is now official. No doubt that Roma wants to stay competitive. :coffee:
     

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