STADIO ENNIO TARDINI (Parma): The Italy Women’s National Team ended their first-ever UEFA Women’s Nations League campaign on a real positive note at a chilly Tardini on Tuesday evening, running out 3-0 winners over neighbours and relegated Switzerland. The win, along with Sweden‘s loss to Spain, ensured the Azzurre finished second in the group.
With snow having fallen in Parma throughout Monday afternoon, there were some fears that it would return on Tuesday and snowfall was forecast at several points throughout the afternoon. It didn’t return though, and Italy wasted no time in turning up the heat against the Swiss, starting on the front foot and showing a lot more intent than their visitors.
The goals on the night came from AS Roma‘s in-form midfielder Manuela Giugliano and Juventus duo Cecilia Salvai and Arianna Caruso.
Azzurre look coherent and dangerous under Soncin
The memories of Milena Bertolini‘s final two years in charge of Italy look well and truly forgotten already, with Andrea Soncin bringing his first UEFA Women’s Nations League campaign at the helm to a successful end. Just six competitive games after a disastrous 2023 Women’s World Cup, the Azzurre are an unrecognisable side to the team that crashed out of the group stages in Australia and New Zealand.
Soncin opted for a midfield three of Giugliano, Caruso and Giada Greggi against Switzerland, with the three being Italy‘s best and most in-form options in the centre of the park over the last two seasons or so. Straightforward as that selection may seem, Soncin‘s predecessor’s squad and team selections left a lot of people scratching their heads towards the end of her reign.
With Giugliano scoring the opener, Caruso getting the third and Greggi looking close to her usual best despite being shifted from the centre to the left and even further forward at points on the night, each of the three more than justified their inclusion.
Youth and experience balanced nicely
Chiara Beccari was the first change made by Soncin, with the Sassuolo forward coming on in place of Valentina Giacinti in the second half. Other players to come off the bench included Martina Piemonte, Sara Gama and Aurora Galli, while Emma Severini and Giulia Dragoni remained on the bench.
A glance at the Italy squad and the XI on the night showed that this is far from a side wherein every individual player is past their best, which is how things seemed at the catastrophic Women’s European Championship in 2022, while the side that turned out at the Women’s World Cup this past summer looked more than a little wet behind the ears.
Soncin, though, appears to have found a nice balance in the squad and on the pitch, as was seen in the recent win away at world champions Spain. His appointment was questioned by many given his complete inexperience in the women’s game, but so far the Azzurre boss is answering those questions and has Italy playing at the level that many had expected of them in previous international tournaments.