It ends 2-1 against the European champions on the second day of the Arnold Clark Cup. Di Cantore scored the momentary equalizer
Another defeat arrives – the fifth in a row, in the run-up to the World Cup – but Italy’s 2-1 draw against the European champions England nonetheless leaves encouraging signs in Milena Bertolini’s notebook. The habit of losing must be banished for the good of the blue group and – more generally – of the movement, but crossing with one of the strongest national teams in the world (albeit in a much reworked version) certainly did not represent the ideal opportunity to reverse the trend. Even without shining, the Azzurri held the field well in front of the over 32,000 spectators at the Coventry Arena against the experimental edition of the English squadron: the highly decorated coach Sarina Wiegman in fact changed ten elevenths compared to the initial formation of the dominated challenge (4-0) a few days ago with South Korea, but above all – it should be emphasized – he had only two starters on the pitch from the start of the European final won over Germany last summer. And it was Rachel Daly, the 31-year-old offensive joker from Aston Villa – one of the two veterans of Wembley, together with the returning Keira Walsh – who scored the brace (two headers) that punished Italy. In the middle, the provisional equal found by Sofia Cantore, at the first joy in blue. But that’s not enough.
In reality, Italy also got off to a good start, with the first opportunity at the start on Giacinti’s feet – lined up in the trident together with Girelli and Bonansea – rejected by goalkeeper Roebuck. England, however, grows, even without impressing, with each passing minute. On Robinson’s cross from the right, Daly broke the balance by beating Lenzini (confirmed in the unusual central position) and slipping Giuliani. After the interval, the change round began and it was one of the substitutes, Cantore, who brought the Azzurri back to level with a header (accomplice the goalkeeper) on an assist from Bonansea which generated significant protests. For the English, in fact, the ball had crossed the back line – a similar case to Japan-Spain, at the Men’s World Cup in Qatar -, but in this case there was no Var to give certainty of the projections on the line. Not bad, 1-1.
However, England is not there and pushes again, also taking advantage of the greater physicality in all departments. The doubling comes from another cross from the right – this time from James, also from the bench – and another header from Daly, this time good at slipping into the middle of the defensive duo formed by Salvai and Linari. Thus ends, with Italy still beaten, but without disfiguring. “We played a more than good game against a great team – the analysis of the blue coach -, we are in a moment of generational change and a performance like this gives us confidence. Defensive compactness and the courage to play the ball more against such opponents, especially in the second half, are positive aspects on which to continue working”. On Wednesday in Bristol (5.45 pm) the closing of this English away match for the Arnold Clark Cup, against South Korea, vice champion of Asia. The priority, five months before the World Cup and against opponents within reach, becomes not losing.
February 19, 2023 (change February 19, 2023 | 20:18)
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