The Italians challenge reigning champions France at the “Marulla” in Cosenza


By John

«A great team effort to make women’s football even more successful in our country. Forty thousand members (+10 thousand in just one year: ed.). Italy is not on a par with Spain (80 thousand) and France (over 200 thousand) or other nations which have even more interesting numbers. But we are on the right track. The attention towards this sector is enormous, we notice it from the squares where we go, and among these there is certainly Cosenza which welcomed us with great enthusiasm. But all the professional clubs must give us a big hand.” This is a summary of the thoughts of Enrico Sbardella, coordinator of the national youth women’s teams, from Under 19 to Under 16, present yesterday morning at the headquarters of the Bruzio committee of the FIGC at the press conference organized to take stock of Round 1 of the Under 17 European Championship underway in Cosenza and which this afternoon (5pm, live on Rai Sport) will pit the Italian team and the reigning champions of France in front of the “Marulla” stadium. Both won their debut match last Monday: Italy beat Slovenia 4-0 while the Transalpines got rid of Scotland 3-0. Also present at the meeting were the coach Jacopo Leandri, the captain of the Under 17, Arianna Pieri, the president of the Calabria committee of the FIGC-Lnd and vice-president of the Lnd, Saverio Mirarchi (he underlined the commitment to women’s football), the councilor for public works Damiano Covelli (spoke about the upcoming works at the Stadium), federal councilor Maria Rita Acciardi and prof. Antonello Cosentino, representing the regional school office. In all the interventions, the importance of the event was underlined which embraced the Bruzio capital for a week and which will end on Sunday with the last matches (Italy will face Scotland at 11am, again at the “Marulla”). An event on which Francesca Stancati, technical manager of the Federal Territorial Center of Cosenza and delegate of Coni Point, worked a lot, who together with the leaders of the FIGC-Lnd is now working on another important objective: the senior women’s national team recently entrusted to the care by Andrea Soncin. The Under 17 coach, Leandri, in presenting today’s match, reiterated the importance of the approach to the tournament. «We face the reigning champions», he said, «we know each other well, I often compare myself with my colleague Locatelli. My team has a desire to work and characteristics with which it makes up for small flaws. From a tactical point of view we prepared well.”