This generation of young Azzurrine have been writing new chapters in the history books of Italian women’s football at this level. Not only did Enrico Sbardella’s charges secure Italy’s first ever trip to a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, they did so on what was their nation’s first appearance in the final phase of a UEFA Women's U-17 Championship.
Adding even greater weight to their achievement is the level of composure shown by this young Nazionale crop, who claimed their World Cup ticket after edging out continental finals’ hosts England on penalties in the match for third place. This all came after the Italians had reached the semi-finals with a game to spare, finishing top of Group A thanks to opening victories over England and Portugal and despite a final-match defeat against Austria, when coach Sbardella rotated his squad. Come the last four, they went down to a narrow reverse against Germany.
“The girls have shown exemplary maturity. The qualifying tournament was a great experience and we weren’t even expecting to make it to the World Cup. We should be very proud of this third place. The girls’ are bubbling over with confidence right now, but this success is down to the hard work put in by a lot of people over the last six months of preparations,” was the verdict of coach Sbardella, speaking to UEFA.com, after his side had sealed their passage to Costa Rica.