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Women’s World Cup 2019: Italy beat China 2-0 to seal quarter-final place


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Highlights: Italy 2-0 China

Italy head coach Milena Bertolini said her players are on a “mission” to help the country “discover and appreciate the women’s game” after they beat China to reach the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals.

The Italians are back on the biggest stage after a 20-year absence and victory over the Netherlands in the last eight on Saturday in Valenciennes will represent their best performance at international level.

“We really believe this side has allowed the women’s game to break new ground back home,” said Bertolini after the Italians scored a goal in each half to eliminate China, who had made the quarter-finals in three of the past five World Cups.

“We can see that from the viewing figures, what we see in the press and from the messages we receive from back home.

“Our game is different from the game we’re used to seeing [men’s football]. It’s full of values – sportsmanship and values you see in society day-in, day-out. I know cultural changes take a lot of time, but this team are able to break down some of those prejudices and they are enacting change and that’s their mission.”

Forward Valentina Giacinti gave Italy an early lead when she turned in a loose ball from close range after Peng Shimeng parried Elisa Bartoli’s effort.

China enjoyed a resurgence before the interval but Italy sealed victory through Aurora Galli after half-time.

Galli, who replaced Cristiana Girelli in the first half, found the bottom corner from outside the area.

Le Azzurre dominated the early exchanges and Giacinti had a ninth-minute strike ruled out for offside before giving her side a deserved lead with her fifth goal in her past eight internationals.

Italy could have doubled their lead after the half-hour mark when winger Valentina Bergamaschi was played in over the top, but her fierce effort across goal was well saved by Shimeng.

That save from a keeper nicknamed the ‘Wall of China’ appeared to spark her side into life and they produced their first shot from inside the Italy area in the 41st minute and a further two before the break.

Liu Shanshan also fired in a volley from outside the area which was well saved by Laura Giuliani.

But Italy broke their resistance within five minutes of the restart as forward Galli picked up the ball the best part of 30 yards out and sent a right-footed shot past Shimeng and into the bottom corner.

‘It makes us realise our shortcomings’ – what they said

China head coach Jia Xiuquan said: “We’ve done a good job but we need to do much better. We couldn’t win the game and I apologise to all the Chinese fans. We understood Italy very well and it was a good game. This is football, and whoever makes mistakes first, has to pay.

“The World Cup is a big stage and it makes us realize our shortcomings. We can’t dwell on the past or any past glories.”

Match facts

  • Italy are the sixth team from Europe into the quarter-finals – a new record for a single confederation at a Women’s World Cup. Only three European sides made the last eight in 2015.
  • Valentina Giacinti scored her seventh goal for Italy on her 29th appearance. It was her first goal in four World Cup appearances.
  • China have lost all seven World Cup knockout stage games they have conceded first in – all of them to nil.
  • All seven teams scoring first in the last 16 so far have progressed to the quarter-finals.
  • Galli’s three goals as a substitute equals the record for a single Women’s World Cup, set by Australia’s Lisa de Vanna in 2007.

Live Text

Match ends, Italy 2, China PR 0.

Second Half ends, Italy 2, China PR 0.

Attempt saved. Wang Shuang (China PR) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Liu Shanshan with a cross.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match because of an injury Manuela Giugliano (Italy).

Attempt saved. Valentina Giacinti (Italy) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Manuela Giugliano.

Offside, China PR. Wang Shuang tries a through ball, but Yang Li is caught offside.

Wu Haiyan (China PR) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ilaria Mauro (Italy).

Attempt missed. Ilaria Mauro (Italy) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Valentina Giacinti.

Attempt missed. Manuela Giugliano (Italy) right footed shot from long range on the left is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Valentina Giacinti (Italy) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Manuela Giugliano.

Foul by Wang Shuang (China PR).

Aurora Galli (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Wang Shuang (China PR) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Zhang Rui following a set piece situation.

Song Duan (China PR) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Manuela Giugliano (Italy).

Attempt blocked. Yang Li (China PR) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Yao Wei.

Attempt missed. Zhang Rui (China PR) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Song Duan.

Corner, China PR. Conceded by Elena Linari.

Foul by Li Ying (China PR).

Elena Linari (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Yao Wei (China PR).

Ilaria Mauro (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Song Duan (China PR) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Wu Haiyan.

Attempt saved. Han Peng (China PR) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, China PR. Conceded by Alia Guagni.

Wu Haiyan (China PR) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Aurora Galli (Italy).

Attempt blocked. Zhang Rui (China PR) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Song Duan.

Substitution, Italy. Martina Rosucci replaces Barbara Bonansea.

Corner, China PR. Conceded by Valentina Cernoia.

Attempt blocked. Wang Shuang (China PR) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Yang Li.

Attempt blocked. Yao Wei (China PR) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Wang Shuang.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match because of an injury Valentina Cernoia (Italy).

Attempt saved. Wang Shuang (China PR) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Song Duan.

Substitution, Italy. Ilaria Mauro replaces Valentina Bergamaschi.

Substitution, China PR. Yao Wei replaces Wang Yan.

Substitution, China PR. Song Duan replaces Wang Shanshan.