Italy's recent run of form in tournaments has been abysmal, to say the least, as they head into their 2nd World Cup after a 20-year drought from the competition in their return to the tournament in 2019, they finished top of their group and were later eliminated 2-0 by the Netherlands in the Quarter Finals, but this time Italy will be determined to go further than before.
Five Key Players For Italy
Cristina Girelli-Forward (Juventus)
Cristina Girelli is one of the spearheads of Italy's attack as she is a player that manager Milena Bertolini relies on due to her experience as well as her technical ability as she can play as a striker, second striker or attacking Midfielder; Girelli's versatility is one of her essential attributes.
Girelli scored 25 goals this past season for the Biaconere and is likely to carry on that form going into the World Cup; she was a crucial figure in the 2019 tournament, especially in Italy's demolition of Jamaica 5-0, and instantly became a fan favourite and with her versatility and ability is likely to do the same.
Arianna Caruso-Midfielder (Juventus)
Another Bianconere in the World Cup Squad is Arianna Caruso, a midfielder who likes to get forward and provides tireless support to Bertolini's team; in addition to her goal contributions, her involvement at both ends of the field is a critical way that she contributes both for club and country.
Caruso is coming off an exceptional season with Juventus finishing with eight goals and eleven assists across the league, as well as a great run in the Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League and for her country leading up to the tournament, providing six goals, including an unforgettable hattrick in their 8-0 win over Moldova.
Valentina Giacinti-Forward (A.S Roma)
Valentina netted 20 goals in Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Women's Champions League last season. She has impressed many people in Italy and across Europe with a series of solid performances Giacinti will hope to continue her impressive performances as Italy head down under.
In addition to her goal-scoring for her club, she has also scored 20 goals for Italy, with seven of these goals coming in Italy's World Cup qualification process, which fans, Bertolini and all of Giacinti's teammates will hope that this form continues going into the first game of the group stages.
Manuela Giugliano-Midfielder (A.S Roma)
Manuela Giugliano has played for Roma since 2019 and is travelling to the World Cup after celebrating a domestic league title with the Giallorosse; she is a midfielder capable of playing in the engine room and being the centre of the midfield or can play as more of an attacking midfielder, with many assists and goals for her club, there isn't a lot missing from her skillset.
Her ten goals and nine assists in the league, cup and champions league are a fantastic return for a midfielder., especially with the extremely high work rate that she plays consistently game after game for Roma.
Lisa Boattin-Defender (Juventus)
Humility, awareness and determination are qualities that make Lisa Boattin unique as well as being a fundamental piece of the Italian national team and Joe Montemurro's Juventus, where Boattin won five consecutive league titles before Roma's latest league triumph, two Coppa Italias, and three Super Cups.
The national team is still her biggest ambition as few things make Boattin proud than wearing the Azzurre jersey and representing Italy at a major tournament; with her list of successes, she will want to make sure that she leads Italy to go further than before and pursue her dreams of winning a World Cup.
Group G- Who Are Italy Set to Play?
Italy take on Argentina in their first game of the tournament and will be full of confidence going into the first game, having beaten Argentina in the last two meetings between the two countries; however, Italy will have to look out for Argentina and Plamerias striker Yamila Rodriguez who is a prolific scoring threat being the top scorer in the Copa America and will be a crucial figure for Argentina that Italy will have to neutralise to prevent Argentina from creating any meaningful chances.
While Italy may feel they will have the edge in this game and have won twice previously, Argentina's strong amount of forwards and midfielders will be a tough challenge for Italy to overcome. Italy will come out on top if they can neutralise their attacking power.
In their second game of the tournament, Italy take on fellow European nation Sweden, who have had many close games in the past, with Italy winning 1-0 and drawing 1-1 against Sweden in the last two meetings.
Sweden finished 3rd in the previous world cup and only reached one more round than Italy, however more recently, they had vary contrasting performances in the Euros in 2022, with Italy crashing out in the group stages and Sweden making it to the semi-finals; it is clear that Sweden is one of the strongest sides in this group and in the tournament so getting a positive result is crucial for Italy if they are to finish in the top two positions and qualify for the knockout stages.
In Italy's final group-stag game, they take on South Africa, a team relatively new to the World Cup, with this being the second one they have consecutively qualified for and with the determined Desiree Ellis as the manager who was the first person to help lead South Africa to a world cup in 2019 and also lead them to win the Women's AFCON last year and is determined to get them their maiden win in the tournament and has hopes of the side reaching the knockout stages.
Going into the tournament South Africa is a team that shouldn't be slept on, and with Italy's poor tournament form last year, Italy will most likely struggle the most against this upbeat South African side are going to pick up a maiden win, Italy will be the ones to hand it to them.
Can Italy Make It All The Way?
Whilst the history of Italy qualifying for World Cups Isn't great, having not been able to qualify for 20 years, in 2019, they began to change the narrative and qualified for that year's World Cup and shocked many people with how well they did topping their group, beat China 2-0 in the round of 16 and made it to the quarter-finals where they would go on to lose to The Netherlands, but given the 20-year wait that was enough to bring back some much-needed positivity to see how far they had come after their long drought from the World Cup.
Whilst Group G will be extremely close, Sweden has to be the favourite to win the group going into the tournament, with second place being up for grabs for the other three countries involved.
In the previous tournament, Italy was the only team from Group G that took part to make it out of the group stage. This performance gives them an edge over Argentina and South Africa in the upcoming tournament.
While Group G is expected to be fiercely competitive, with second place up for grabs, Italy's past success makes them strong contenders to secure the coveted spot. Their experience and ability to navigate group stages will undoubtedly play a crucial role if they are to advance to the knockouts.
However, Argentina and South Africa should be considered, as both teams will be determined to improve their previous performances and secure a spot in the knockout stage. The battle for second place in Group G promises to be closely contested, with each team eager to prove their mettle on the international stage.