Following the first-ever season of full professionalism in Serie A Femminile and a historic performance both domestically and in the Women’s Champions League from Italian champions AS Roma, the Azzurre are now gearing up for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The Italy Women’s National Team will play each of their three Group G games – against Sweden, South Africa and Argentina – in New Zealand, and will be hoping to perform above expectations and reach the knockout rounds despite coming into the tournament from Pot 3.

Here, looking at the confirmed squad, the standout players, the fixtures and more, we have the complete guide to Italy’s Azzurre at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Italy’s 2023 Women’s World Cup squad

The Italy Women’s National Team. (@AzzurreFIGC)

Having initially named a 32-player squad for the pre-World Cup training camp and final warm-up friendly against Morocco, Milena Bertolini has cut that list and announced her official 23-player Italy Women’s World Cup squad. The full squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers

Rachele Baldi (Fiorentina), Francesca Durante (Inter), Laura Giuliani (AC Milan).

Defenders

Elisa Bartoli (AS Roma), Lisa Boattin (Juventus), Lucia Di Guglielmo (AS Roma), Martina Lenzini (Juventus), Elena Linari (AS Roma), Benedetta Orsi (Sassuolo), Cecilia Salvai (Juventus).

Midfielders

Arianna Caruso (Juventus), Valentina Cernoia (Juventus), Giulia Dragoni (Barcelona), Manuela Giugliano (AS Roma), Giada Greggi (AS Roma), Emma Severini (Fiorentina).

Forwards

Chiara Beccari (Juventus), Barbara Bonansea (Juventus), Sofia Cantore (Juventus), Cristiana Girelli (Juventus), Valentina Giacinti (AS Roma), Benedetta Glionna (AS Roma), Annamaria Serturini (AS Roma).

*Sassuolo’s Maria Luisa Filangeri and Inter’s Beatrice Merlo will join the squad for the preparation period in New Zealand, but will not be in the final 23.

Who are Italy’s best players at the Women’s World Cup?

Barbara Bonansea – Forward – Juventus

Juventus Women’s Barbara Bonansea in action. (@JuventusFCWomen)

Anybody even on nodding terms with Italian women’s football would likely be able to name Barbara Bonansea as one of the best players the Azzurre have among their ranks. The Juventus forward is 32 years old heading to New Zealand for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, meaning there’s a strong chance that this summer will be her second and last after going to France in 2019 as well.

She only got eight Serie A goals last season but she was used more in the Women’s Champions League group stage for a chunk of the season. As well, Bonansea’s game isn’t only defined by goals as she generally plays out wide for the Bianconere and is an excellent dribbler, while also boasting a real ability to sniff out space and chances and having a clinical edge to finish those opportunities as well.

Giada Greggi – Midfielder – AS Roma

Italy’s Giada Greggi in action for the Azzurre. (REUTERS/Alberto Lingria)

Giada Greggi’s omission from last summer’s squad for the Women’s European Championship made no sense at the time, as there was a real argument even then that she was Italy’s best midfielder. A year on and with a Serie A Femminile winner’s medal in her pocket, any doubts about her ability simply cannot exist. Greggi is as close to perfect as midfielders come, and the Roman was key to the Giallorosse’s dominant domestic campaign.

In possession, Greggi is always a point of reference for her side, constantly managing to find space to be available for a pass. Often recycling possession and moving the ball on, she is more than capable of bursting through the lines with the ball at her feet as well, and her tireless pressing regularly sees her win the ball back within seconds of the opposition having taken it.

Cristiana Girelli – Forward – Juventus

Cristiana Girelli celebrates scoring for Juventus Women. (@JuventusFCWomen)

Much like Juventus teammate Bonansea, Cristiana Girelli’s name is likely to be known by Italian football fans who don’t pay all that much attention to the women’s game. Again like Bonansea, she might be playing in her last Women’s World Cup this summer as she comes into the tournament as a 33-year-old.

Girelli is third in the Italy Women’s National Team’s all-time list of goalscorers with 53 goals from 103 appearances so far, and will want to add to that tally this summer.

She has, though, adapted her game somewhat in recent seasons. While she is the most clinical of all Italy’s players when presented with a chance, she now tends to drop into midfield in search of possession and in an attempt to build attacks herself as well.

Manuela Giugliano – Midfielder – AS Roma

Manuela Giugliano in action for the Italy Women’s National Team. (@AzzurreFIGC)

By Greggi’s side with Roma and Italy is the brilliant Manuela Giugliano. While Greggi is essential in winning the ball back and being involved in the early stages of attacking moves, Giugliano is more involved at the other end of moves and often the one finishing chances or playing the final ball to put a forward in front of goal.

Giugliano can be lethal from range and is one to keep an eye on – alongside Lisa Boattin – if Italy have any set-pieces in promising positions at the Women’s World Cup, and she is a player who loves to try her luck at the first sight of goal, which can come as a frustration to some well-placed forwards in front of her at times. With another Roma teammate Valentina Giacinti in attack, though, we could see some Giallorosse combinations between the two in the final third.

Who could be Italy’s surprise player at the Women’s World Cup?

Giulia Dragoni – Midfielder – Barcelona

Barcelona Femeni’s Giulia Dragoni playing for Italy Women. [FIGC]

Eyebrows were raised by Milena Bertolini’s decision to include 16-year-old Giulia Dragoni in her final 23-player Azzurre squad, particularly having handed the Barcelona Femeni teen her debut in the draw against Morocco in the final warm-up game on July 1.

The midfielder, though, is one of the bright hopes of Italian women’s football and has a reputation that goes far beyond her experience. At first-team level, she played just 92 minutes of football for Inter before being signed by Barcelona and is yet to appear for their first team.

Dragoni is the first non-Spanish female player to join the famed La Masia academy, she is frighteningly talented and could make you sit up and take notice if she is to come off the bench this summer.

Chiara Beccari – Forward – Juventus

Matilde Pavan and Chiara Beccari celebrate for Como Women. (Photo: Como Women)

Along with Dragoni and Fiorentina midfielder Emma Severini, Chiara Beccari makes up the teenage trio representing Italy at the Women’s World Cup, and she’s likely to be the one who plays the most. The 18-year-old enjoyed a brilliant breakthrough season on loan at Como Women in the 2022/23 season, helping the side secure survival in their first season in Serie A Femminile despite suffering injury problems and missing a crucial chunk of the campaign.

Beccari is a really promising forward who keeps defenders on their toes with her constant movement, dragging opponents into the channels and deep, and she’s more than capable of picking the ball up far from goal and driving towards the box before finishing – as she did to lethal effect against Parma and parent club Juventus to score vital goals for Como.

There is a tinge of sadness around Beccari’s call-up, too. Como teammate and long-term best friend Matilde Pavan seemed certain to join her in New Zealand this summer before suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury at the end of the season. Pavan had debuted for Italy in the April friendly win over Colombia and was the best player on the pitch.

Benedetta Glionna – Winger – AS Roma

Benedetta Glionna and Andressa Alves celebrate for AS Roma Women [@ASRomaWomen]

Twenty-three-year-old Benedetta Glionna isn’t likely to start for Italy this summer, with Roma teammate Annamaria Serturini probably having the edge over her in Bertolini’s plans. As the Azzurre are likely to set up in a 3-5-2 formation, neither have natural positions in the team but each is capable of operating as wing-back on either side. In the friendly against Morocco, Serturini started on the right before Glionna came on for her in the second half and created chances.

Glionna is a bag of energy and a direct, tricky dribbler. She made an impact for Roma in their Women’s Champions League journey last season and will want to do the same for the Azzurre this summer. She can look a little raw in front of goal at times, but, if she comes on against a tiring team in New Zealand, she’ll be more than capable of causing havoc.

2023 Women’s World Cup: Italy fixtures, and what group are the Azzurre in?

Arianna Caruso in action for the Italy Women’s National Team. (@AzzurreFIGC)

Italy have been placed in Group G, meaning they will be one of the last teams to get their campaign underway. Italy’s group contains Sweden, South Africa and Argentina, meaning it would be a great achievement to get out of the group.

The full groups can be found below…

  • Group A: New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland
  • Group B: Australia, Republic of Ireland, Nigeria, Canada
  • Group C: Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia, Japan
  • Group D: England, Haiti, Denmark, China
  • Group E: USA, Vietnam, Netherlands, Portugal
  • Group F: France, Jamaica, Brazil, Panama
  • Group G: Sweden, South Africa, Italy, Argentina
  • Group H: Germany, Morocco, Colombia, South Korea

Italy 2023 Women’s World Cup fixtures, dates and kick-off times

DateFixtureKick-off (CEST)LocalUK (BST)US (EDT)US (PDT)
Mon, July 24Italy vs Argentina08:0018:0007:0002:0023:00 (July 23)
Sat, July 29Sweden vs Italy09:3019:3008:3003:3000:30
Wed, Aug 2South Africa vs Italy09:0019:0008:0003:0000:00

How did Italy qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup?

Azzurre coach Milena Bertolini poses with the Italy flag in celebration. (REUTERS/Alberto Lingria)

Italy’s place at the 2023 Women’s World Cup was sealed back in September 2022, with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Romania at Ferrara’s Stadio Paolo Mazza seeing them take top spot in qualification Group G over neighbours Switzerland.

Croatia, Lithuania and Moldova were also in Group G alongside the Azzurre, Switzerland and Romania, though it was Italy and the Swiss who were the frontrunners.

Switzerland had been in pole position to qualify and topped the qualification group with three games to play, but the Azzurre then beat them 1-0 away from home with a late Cristiana Girelli strike, handing the advantage back to Italy, who then beat Moldova and Romania in their final two games to keep hold of top spot.

Switzerland then qualified via the playoffs.

What happened to Italy at the last Women’s World Cup?

Italy’s involvement at the 2019 Women’s World Cup came as a pleasant surprise, and it was the Azzurre’s first time at the tournament in 20 years, having qualified previously as far back as 1999.

Drawn from Pot 3 into a tricky Group C alongside Pot 1’s Australia, Pot 2’s Brazil and Pot 4’s Jamaica, not many backed Italy to do anything in France that summer. Impressively, though, the Azzurre made it through.

Then overcoming China in the Round of 16, Italy finally fell against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals, with the Dutch going on to finish the summer as runners-up. Head here for a more in-depth look back at the Azzurre at the 2019 tournament.

Where do Italy rank in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Rankings?

The Azzurre, or Italy’s national women’s team, celebrate a goal. (@AzzurreFIGC)

Italy have a long way to go before they are troubling the sides at the very top of the Women’s World Rankings, but the Azzurre will hope to benefit from Serie A Femminile’s move to full professionalism at the beginning of the 2022/23 season.

The last list of rankings was published back in the summer of 2022, when Italy held 15th place, which was one place below their previous position ahead of the 2022 Women’s European Championship. The Azzurre have since dropped down a place and they now find themselves 16th in the Women’s World Rankings.

Italy 2023 Women’s World Cup shirt numbers

Below is the complete list of Italy’s 2023 Women’s World Cup shirt numbers, in numerical order. Beneath this list you will find every Azzure player’s shirt number by position.

  1. Laura Giuliani
  2. Emma Severini
  3. Benedetta Orsi
  4. Lucia Di Guglielmo
  5. Elena Linari
  6. Manuela Giugliano
  7. Sofia Cantore
  8. Barbara Bonansea
  9. Valentina Giacinti
  10. Cristiana Girelli
  11. Benedetta Glionna
  12. Rachele Baldi
  13. Elisa Bartoli
  14. Chiara Beccari
  15. Annamaria Serturini
  16. Giulia Dragoni
  17. Lisa Boattin
  18. Arianna Caruso
  19. Martina Lenzini
  20. Giada Greggi
  21. Valentina Cernoia
  22. Francesca Durante
  23. Cecilia Salvai
  24. Maria Luisa Filangeri (part of the preparation squad only)
  25. Beatrice Merlo (part of the preparation squad only)