Women's World Cup: Australia 1-2 Italy
Italy players reacting after one of Barbara Bonansea goals. 

Women's World Cup: Australia 1-2 Italy

Barbara Bonansea brace hands Gli Azzurre win in World Cup return 

gianluca-lia
Gianluca Lia

Italy came from behind to do the unthinkable and seal their World Cup return with a famous 2-1 over one of the tournament favourites Australia, in Valenciennes

Story of the game

After the match, le Sorelle d'Italia gathered in the middle of the field, dancing to the rhythm of the Macarena amid the ongoing cheers of the Italian supporters.

All that enthusiasm was down to Milena Bertolini's tactical nous, who, although some doubts were creeping into her mind ahead of this game, decided to stick to the starting XI that she deployed in their send-off friendly against Switzerland, of which they won 3-1. 

Laura Giuliani was between the sticks, with Sara Gama and Elena Linari as central defenders. Valentina Bergamaschi and Alia Guagni were the fullbacks, while Manuela Giugliano, Valentina Cernoia and Aurora Galli comprised the midfield trio.

Upfront, the lethal Barbara Bonansea partnered Cristina Girelli and Ilaria Mauro to complete the 4-3-1-2.  

On the other hand, Ante Milicic named the same players that played in their friendly defeat against the Netherlands, with Sam Kerr leading the way in an offensive 4-2-2 that saw also the inclusion of veteran Lisa De Vanna

Unexpectedly, it was Italy that took centre stage in this game with some great offensive drives that saw them also forge ahead through Bonansea just to see her goal disallowed for an offside.

However, it was Australia that took the lead when Gama committed a silly foul inside the eighteen-yard box to allow Kerr to slot in her first goal in a World Cup from the rebound after seeing her penalty initially blocked by Giuliani. 

Nonetheless, Italy kept their composure and managed to restore parity four minutes before the hour-mark, when Bonansea caught the Aussie's backline red-handed, and with a superb solo effort managed to net Italy's first World Cup goal in 20 years. 

Daniela Sabatino then thought she had scored the winning goal for Italy but, once again, VAR came to the rescue for Australia.

But the Italian side were not to be denied in stoppage-time when Bonansea rose with authority over Kerr to head home the 2-1 and earn three precious points for her nation. 

Takeaways from the game

After Brazil hammered Jamaica 3-0 the South Americans are joint-leaders with Italy, and with both teams facing each other in the final matchday they could be already on their way to the next round should they claim the three points in week two. 

Meanwhile, for Australia, this was not on their script, and it just adds insult to injury after their coaching just over two months ago. The latest friendlies were not encouraging and the Italy loss could either trigger them to raise the bar or could be the start of a dismal campaign in France. 

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