A brilliant Cristiana Girelli hat-trick and a stunning brace from Aurora Galli saw Italy hammer Jamaica 5-0. The crowd in Reims were treated to a game that had a little of everything – goals, cards and VAR controversy were all on show in Northern France this evening.
The first half started with Italy on the front foot, a trend which would continue for much of the game. Le Azzure didn’t have to wait long for their first goal either as the referee, with the assistance of VAR, awarded them a penalty after just ten minutes.
Originally, the referee waved play on when Barbara Bonansea went down under the challenge of Allyson Swaby. Replays showed the Jamaican defender timed her challenge impeccably, but VAR called the game back, the referee went to look for herself and awarded the penalty anyway.
The controversy didn’t stop there either as goalkeeper Sydney Schneider saved the pen. The referee blew the whistle and ordered a retake, with VAR saying the keeper stepped off her line as she dived. Replays proved she had indeed stepped off the line and she was subsequently booked. The penalty was retaken and Cristiana Girelli made no mistake second time around. 1-0.
Italy comfortable winners
There was significantly less controversy around the second though, as Girelli made the most of some awful defending from a corner. The ball came straight across the six yard box and through a whole host of defenders. It fell to Girelli at the back post and she tucked it away.
They had to wait until the second half for the third goal, just about anyway. Within a minute of the restart, Manuela Guigliano lumped a long ball into the box. Schneider came to punch it clear but was beaten to the ball in the air by Girelli as the striker sealed her hat-trick.
As the second half drew on, Jamaica were attacking more and more but they just couldn’t find a way through. There were a couple of defensive errors that they failed to capitalise on and worryingly for them, Italy still looked like scoring whenever they had the ball. That worry became a reality on the 70th minute when substitute Aurora Galli unleashed a pile-driver that flew into the top left corner.
The substitute wasn’t finished there either as ten minutes later, she added a second. Galli timed her run to perfection as she latched on to a phenomenal through ball before rounding the goalkeeper to score her second brilliant goal of the night. What a performance off the bench.
A five-star performance all around from Italy – they secure their place in the knockout rounds and have made themselves real dark horses to go and win a medal at this tournament. That’s two outstanding performances from Milena Bertolini’s side so far. Jamaica, on the other hand, have now lost both their matches and are as good as eliminated from the tournament – they are yet to even score a goal.