«Italy, you don't leave defeated against Sweden. I would never say no to the national team bench»- Corriere.it

«Italy, you don't leave defeated against Sweden.  I would never say no to the national team bench»- Corriere.it

Of Alessandro Vinci

The record holder of goals and appearances for the blue to the "Corriere" via Instagram: "I didn't expect certain exclusions either, but the coach knows the group's situation better than anyone else"

If there is one person entitled to make the cards for the women's national team in view of its debut at the women's soccer World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, this can only respond to the name of Patricia Panic. Record holder of both appearances - 204 - and goals - 110 - in the blue shirt (and therefore naturally part of the FIGC Hall of Fame), the former gunner born in 1975 spoke live on Instagram last Friday on the account of the Corriere della Sera to outline the prospects that await Milena Bertolini's girls in the world championship adventure. «The favorites of the group are undoubtedly Sweden – begins the coach from Rome, who has been in charge of Fiorentina for the last two seasons – but Italy has already shown several times that it can get the better of even the best-equipped teams on paper. It will be a beautiful and intense match, decisive for passing the round with the best possible placement».

Also because, in the event of second place, we should probably compete against none other than the United States…

"Exact. Of course, Holland is also very strong, they won the 2017 European Championships, but they have to deal with some defections due to injuries (Vivianne Miedema above all, ed). This is why it would certainly be a more affordable rival than the USA, which, being able to draw from a stratospheric number of members, start as always favorites ».

Who could compete with them for the third consecutive success, a feat up to now never centered even in the men's arena?

«Australia, who play at home. While among the European ones I choose France, England and Germany».

Did you expect the excellent exclusions of Galli, Gama, Bergamaschi and Piemonte?

«Honestly not, but I think Milena knows more than anyone else the situation of the group. For this reason, your choices must be respected, even in a country like ours in which everyone feels a bit like technical stewards ».

What kind of Italy will we see, then?

«I expect a national team that offers football based on possession and even short phrasing, in line with the principles that have characterized current technical management up to now. Many balls will therefore pass between the feet of the midfielders, so if I really had to indicate a key player, I would mention Manuela Giugliano. However, it is clear that, beyond the intentions, it will be necessary to deal with the adversaries..."

Three of the squad – Giacinti, Baldi and Severini – you also coached in Florence.

«Valentina has the great ability to be able to attack depth for the entire ninety minutes. She extends the defenses by floating on the offside edge and guarantees speed and generosity. Rachele also has a distinctive feature: the skill in high exits. Which could be an advantage against teams that cross a lot like northern European ones. Finally, Emma has grown a lot this year in terms of both mentality and continuity, especially in the non-possession phase. I am overjoyed that she has earned this opportunity ».

Another young player of whom great praise is said is the 16-year-old Dragoni, who plays for Barcelona B: is the future of the national team really in her feet?

«Absolutely yes, she too has an important career ahead of her and this experience will help her to progress even more rapidly. That said, with the young girls I invite you to be patient: it's quick to judge them, to put them in the pillory when things don't go well. Instead at their age they just have to think about putting in as many minutes as possible in their legs ».

So what advice would you give not only to them, but also to the other blues in view of the tournament?

«Simply to live it lightly, aware of being a great team. They must not put too much pressure on themselves, otherwise they risk struggling».

She also played in a World Cup: the iconic one in 1999.

«It is the dream of every player, plus making it in the USA was even more beautiful. Playing in front of 70,000-80,000 spectators was almost embarrassing: the noise was so loud we couldn't even communicate on the pitch, we weren't used to it».

The Atlantic then surpassed him also in 2010, as a player of the Sky Blue.

«The differences compared to Italy were many, both from an organizational point of view and as regards the intensity of the game. It was really very demanding because there were all the best female soccer players of the time: the Americans but also the foreign ones, given that there were no other professional leagues in the world. Today, however, things have changed, as shown for example by the Frauen-Bundesliga and the Women's Super League».

Even in Italy, however, progress has been made, just think of the transition to professionalism last year.

«We are certainly on the right track, but perhaps they are doing even more abroad. In any case, the important thing was to start, to start growing: now we need to continue to accelerate, because the others don't stand still..."

In light of these (albeit initial) progress, do you ever regret not being a footballer of today?

«No, also because maybe I wouldn't have been among the best, who knows: when you compare different generations in sport, you never know. And then in those years I was able to help give the growth of the movement a certain direction, and I'm happy about that».

As for the future, will we see you again on the bench soon?

"Still do not know. I too will enjoy this World Cup live, then we'll see. Certainly my choice will fall on an important project».

What if the national team were to contact you?

«No one will ever be able to say no to that type of call. But I repeat: I still don't know anything, we will have to see many things..."

July 23, 2023 (change July 23, 2023 | 09:26)

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