Italy on the verge of reaching Women’s World Cup: What needs to happen for the Azzurre to qualify?

Italy took a huge step towards 2023 Women's World Cup qualification tonight. What is left to be done for the Azzurre to book their ticket to Australia and New Zealand?

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Italy take on Romania at SPAL’s Stadio Paolo Mazza in Ferrara on Tuesday evening with qualification for the 2023 Women’s World Cup up for grabs. The Azzurre won their penultimate Women’s World Cup qualifier in emphatic fashion on Friday evening, hammering Moldova 8-0 away from home to go ever closer to securing their place at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Milena Bertolini made some changes to her Azzurre XI for the game in Moldova, which was the first the side played after disappointing at Women’s Euro 2022 and crashing out at the group stage. The most notable inclusions from kick off were Juventus duo Martina Lenzini and Agnese Bonfantini, with Sassuolo’s Maria Luisa Filangeri accompanying the former at centre-back.

Lenzini, Caruso, Giacinti celebrate an Italy Women’s national team goal. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Italy hammer Moldova in Women’s World Cup qualification

When the two sides met in Trieste in September 2021, Italy ran out 3-0 winners thanks to a Cristiana Girelli brace and a third from Valentina Giacinti. Both started in Moldova too, though Girelli surprisingly didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet.

Bertolini’s Azzurre spent most of the first half finding themselves frustrated and unable to beat an impressive Natalia Munteanu in Moldova’s goal. After 26 minutes, though, Manuela Giugliano gave them a deserved lead. Giacinti and Arianna Caruso went on to add to the tally before the break.

The floodgates opened in the second half. Caruso ended the evening with four goals of her own, Giacinti got a brace, and Agnese Bonfantini fired in a fine volley to get her first international goal.

Will Italy qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup?

Agnese Bonfantini celebrates her first goal for the Italy Women’s national team with Azzurre teammate Arianna Caruso. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Italy are top of Women’s World Cup Qualification Group G, ahead of Switzerland. Their neighbours are the only other side who can qualify.

The Azzurre can qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup on Tuesday, September 6, when they host Romania at SPAL’s Stadio Paolo Mazza in Ferrara. Romania are third in the group and beat Lithuania 7-1 on Friday.

In their previous meeting back in November 2021, Italy scored five goals without response to win in Romania. Girelli scored a hat-trick then, with Barbara Bonansea and Valeria Pirone getting the other goals for the Azzurre.

Italy could alternatively have had their qualification sealed if Switzerland had failed to win away at Croatia on Friday night. After a tough start, though, the Swiss got the job done.

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