Bertolini stands by her Women’s World Cup choices and says Italy ‘were their own opponent, not South Africa’

Many expect Milena Bertolini to no longer be the Italy Women's coach after the 2023 Women's World Cup elimination, but she is refusing to give too much away about her future and stands by the decisions she made in New Zealand.


Milena Bertolini is coming under a huge amount of pressure following the Italy Women’s National Team‘s elimination from the 2023 Women’s World Cup on Wednesday morning at the hands of South Africa.

The Azzurre came into their final game of Group G only needing to get a draw, providing Argentina were unable to beat Sweden in the other game. Sweden won 2-0, but Italy once again failed to make any of their possession pay and they were beaten 3-2 by a more potent South Africa side.

The Azzurre were also handed the perfect start when Chiara Beccari was fouled on the edge of the box and Arianna Caruso converted the penalty. After conceding twice, Italy got back to where they needed to be through another Caruso goal from a corner, but they still could not see the result through and lost 3-2 in what was a very dramatic game.

Bertolini on how Sweden affected Italy

Italy Women’s National Team coach Milena Bertolini and forward Chiara Beccari react after a loss at the Women’s World Cup. (@Azzurri_en)

Having started the tournament with a 1-0 win over Argentina, Italy were in an immediate position of strength. Despite that, they managed to lose 5-0 against Sweden in a game that, as Bertolini explained after the South Africa defeat to Rai1, really had an impact on the team.

“I don’t think this group lacks understanding, they are good with each other. A bit of fear was created, those five goals conceded against Sweden took away our certainty. That own goal made us afraid. The main opponent today was not South Africa but ourselves,” Bertolini explained.

Bertolini not dragged into specifics on her future

Italy Women’s Valentina Giacinti battles with South Africa’s Bambanani Mbane. [@AzzurreFIGC]

Considering Bertolini was in charge for the Euro 2022 campaign in which Italy failed to get out of their group and also received a heavy beating from France, many fans believe that this is the end of the road for the coach.

Despite that, Bertolini stands by the choices that she made in regard to team selection at the Women’s World Cup and played down the importance of her future so soon after the event.

“I am convinced of the choices made, these are the best players and I also believe that there will be a good future for this national team. This World Cup has served to develop players who will be here in the future,” Bertolini said.

“My contract? It does not matter, what is important is the future of the movement, which I hope will always grow. I hope I have left a legacy in this young team, I hope the movement will have success in the future.”


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