«At the World Cup with the power of ideas and young people. We will give everything»- Corriere.it

«At the World Cup with the power of ideas and young people.  We will give everything»- Corriere.it

Of Gaia Piccardi

the coach of the women's national team on his debut tomorrow in New Zealand against Argentina: «Here there are no stars, we work collectively. excluding sara gama was painful but I had taken it into account"

Of the changing Italy (only 13 of the 23 blue ones were in the disastrous 2022 European Championship) and which brought a 2006 class to New Zealand (Giulia Dragoni, 16-year-old Milanese in Barça's cantera), Milena Bertolini is the totem at the center of the village. You learn from mistakes ("Rejuvenating is physiological: I have included the young players who have had more continuity in the league"), qualification was not obvious ("The men have been missing for two editions, we came from a twenty-year gap: the level has risen, we have to conquer everything"), the coach's bet on the World Cup, the second on the bench, begins tomorrow morning (8 am Italian time) against Argentina.

Milena, what did disappointment at the European Championship teach us?

«That to have results you need to work collectively, not individually. The sense of the group that took us to the quarterfinals at the 2019 World Cup was lost at the European Championship. But Italy doesn't have star players, there isn't a Messi who changes games on his own. We are strong if we know how to create a united group and we all work for the same goal».

The team has changed a lot. Is the new championship format more training?

«It is positive, with some criticisms: the ideal formula does not exist. The numbers of our movement, which has reached 40,000 members, are still low. They have to grow up. I see an improvement in physical and mental intensity, which affects the national team. In terms of physical parameters, however, we remain in the middle range».

What is left of the 2019 World Cup? Is there trust in Italy that needs to be rebuilt?

«More than trust, there is a need to restore a balance. The last World Cup was extraordinary, we went beyond our limits making ourselves known and appreciated, perhaps even exaggeratedly. Expectations are high, however, a growing movement must be appreciated in its strengths and weaknesses».

The best memory?

"When we entered the Valenciennes stadium for the opening match against Australia and Barbara Bonansea's goal that gave us the victory in added time, directing our tournament".

What world awaits us, four years later?

«More level, with more fought and open matches. England has exploded but has many injuries, Europe has grown (France, Germany), Canada is strong, the USA are favourites, Australia is playing at home: they will have an extra boost. The barrier is severe: the first two of the group pass, there are no longer the best third-placed ones».

We will have to win it, our group.

«I make a promise: we will give everything. Sweden is n.2 in the Fifa ranking, Argentina has great strength and good individuality, South Africa has more physicality than organization. I came to Auckland to try to play football, to bring an idea».

Will women still save us, like four years ago?

"I don't know, but it would be beautiful."

Fit problems?

«We arrived early to absorb the 10 hours of time difference, for the New Zealand winter we were preparing for a retreat in Riscone. We will play in New Zealand, traveling with flights of 1.5-2 hours at the most: in Australia everything would have been more complicated».

The Gama case, left at home, with hindsight.

«In the last meeting with 30 players, I made a clear statement: the positioning in the group will change. I told everyone, not just Sara: nothing will be taken for granted. Keeping the captain out, with her story and her presence, was painful for those who shared so much time with her: I had taken that into account. After the disappointment, a great desire to participate in this World Cup remained. We're professionals, right?"

The World Cup closes a cycle. What will Milena do then?

«A holiday by the sea, in Sardinia, without thinking about anything».

July 23, 2023 (change July 23, 2023 | 07:29)

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