The new coach wins 1-0 on his debut. A winning left foot from Arianna Caruso was enough for the Italians. Sweden arrives on Tuesday
22 September – MILAN
Positive energy, the ones that were needed: Andrea Soncin’s new Italy starts its Nations League with a success, moving to Switzerland against the most playable opponent in the group (who, however, reached the round of 16 at the World Cup). The precise left foot of Arianna Caruso, a Juventus midfielder who travels at a striker’s pace in the national team (13 goals, one every three games played), was decisive in the middle of the second half. The new coach had only four days of training available in Coverciano, too few to talk about any recognizable imprint on him. At the same time, however, he was able to field an orderly and courageous Italy in always trying to win the ball in the opponent’s half of the field. To be honest, good fortune also smiled on us: in the final assault, Switzerland even hit a double post with the unleashed Pilgrim (complete with a dancing ball on the goal line). A thrill that didn’t affect an evening of joy, over the closing credits of a decidedly forgettable summer. Soncin, meanwhile, immediately took two favorable steps: for the sixth time in a row Italy won in the first with a new coach, but this success also came in the same stadium where Roberto Mancini’s Italian adventure began. At the Arena St. Gallen, in 2018, the European champion coach made his debut in blue against Saudi Arabia.
The first 11 of the new era is a fluid 4-4-2, with three substantial changes compared to the World Cup: Laura Giuliani is back in goal, but above all, two great players excluded from Milena Bertolini’s latest selections are back in the starting lineup. In fact, there is room for the Everton duo: Martina Piemonte pairs up front with Giacinti, while Aurora Galli (regular midfielder) plays the tactical winger on the left, allowing the evolution into 4-3-3 when Cantore from other part aligns with the attackers. Starting from the bench are both the young Dragoni and Beccari, as well as the veterans Girelli and Gama, the latter back in the group after the summer controversies.
Soncin, together with deputy Viviana Schiavi, invited her players to run forward – without overdoing it, because it is not a moment of the season in which the legs are spinning – and to give width, finding themselves facing two lines that are always narrow. The goal arrives just like that, with Cantore’s cross from the right that triggers a carom in the Swiss 16 meters: in the situation of confusion, Caruso is very cool in taking aim with a left-footed shot that gives Peng no chance. It’s the 64th minute and Italy finds themselves in command after two thirds of the match played without great emotions. Physiologically, it is also the moment when suffering increases. Despite the double wood chipped by Pilgrim and a near-miss between Linari and Giuliani, the ability to grit one’s teeth in the final siege turns into joy. The more challenging Sweden will arrive in Castel di Sangro on Tuesday, beaten in the meantime by Spain (3-2). The world champions, on the field, prove themselves ferocious and do not let themselves be distracted by everything that involves them outside.
September 22 – 10.06pm
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED