Italy beat Argentina thanks to a goal by Girelli.
In Italy’s Women’s World Cup start against Argentina, striker Cristiana Girelli came off the bench to score the game-winning goal in the 87th minute.
It looked like Argentina’s tough defense was going to keep Italy from winning in Auckland, but then substitute Girelli scored the winning goal to give Italy a 1-0 win.
Giulia Dragoni was replaced by the experienced Juventus forward in the 83rd minute. At 16 years and 259 days old, Dragoni was one of the youngest players in the history of the event.
“Cristiana is a leader, a captain of this group,” said Milena Bertolini, who is in charge of Italy. “She’s always there, and we know what she can give.
“We’re doing great. We know how important it is to get an event off to a good start.”
Bertolini didn’t think twice about giving Dragoni, a young player who just made her first appearance with the senior team on July 1, a start. However, it was Girelli, who is 33 years old, who made the difference.
“Giulia is a talent for Italian football,” said Bertolini of the youngster. “She was ready, and when she played in a big venue, she did well. If they’re here, it’s because they deserve it.”
In the most important part of a game that was often tense, Girelli took Lisa Boattin’s pass and looped the ball over Vanina Correa.
Before that, Arianna Caruso and Valentina Giacinti both scored for Italy, but their goals were taken away because they were offside. There were 30,889 people watching.
Italy also had forward Chiara Beccari, who is 18 years old, play from the start. Next, they will play Sweden in Wellington on Saturday at 8:30 BST. Both teams have three points in Group G.
On Friday at 01:00 BST, Argentina will play South Africa in Dunedin.
Dragoni, who is a child, does her part.
Italy has lost its way since the 2019 World Cup, where they played well and beat Australia, Jamaica, and China.
They didn’t do well at Euro 2022, and 13 of Bertolini’s 23 players are making their first appearances at the World Cup.
The Italy coach made a big splash before the game by putting Dragoni in her starting lineup. This was just three weeks after the 16-year-old made her debut for Le Azzurre.
She is known as “Little Messi,” and she helped her country win with some confident touches. By the end of the game, the youngster had a passing accuracy of 86.4%.
Ifeanyi Chiejine, who played for Nigeria in 1999 when she was 16 years and 34 days old, holds the record for being the youngest player to play in a Women’s World Cup.
Dragoni started, but forward Girelli, defender Elisa Bartoli, and midfielder Valentina Cernoia had to sit on the bench. Between them, they have more than 200 games and are at their second World Cup.
Girelli made herself known when she got off the bench to win the game and break the hearts of Argentina.
La Albiceleste thought they had won a crucial point and looked upset when Girelli scored. There was more pain when Francesca Durante stopped Florencia Bonsegundo from tying the game in the last few seconds.
Argentina still hasn’t won its first World Cup game. In four tournaments, they’ve played 10 games and lost eight of them.
“The outcome was a little bit unfair. “A draw would have been the right result,” said German Portanova, the coach of Argentina.