Auckland, July 24 (BNA): Gerelli became the first Italian to score in two editions of the Women’s World Cup with her 87th-minute goal that gave Italy a 1-0 win in the tournament’s opening match against Argentina.
Girelli entered the match as an 83rd-minute substitute. The Associated Press reported that Italy had put the ball in the net twice in the first half but they were both offside before Girelli’s header.
The Italians have never lost a World Cup opening match.
“We will try to leave this match behind, learn from what happened, and continue to promote positivity,” said Argentina striker Estefania Panini. “Now we need to clear our minds, look at what comes next and beat the group.”
Italy found more success on the big stage, advancing to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2019. The Netherlands held off the Italians.
Argentina’s women returned to the World Cup four years ago in France after a 12-year absence and faced a difficult time but could not collect enough points to advance out of the group.
It seemed that Ariana Caruso, who plays professionally for Juventus, scored from a distance in the 15th minute, but Italy was quickly ruled out for offside.
The 23-year-old was the youngest woman to reach 100 appearances for Juventus.
Italy were again offside after a Valentina Giaccenti effort late in the first half.
Italy goalkeeper Lara Esponda saved Argentina from a dangerous free kick in the 73rd minute.
Italy started playing 16-year-old Giulia Dragoni in midfield and is the second-youngest European player to play in the tournament.
She was replaced by Gerelli, the oldest player in the Azzurri squad at the age of 33, in the 83rd minute. Gerelli’s goal was the 54th of her international career.
Girelli, you almost immediately changed the tone of the match when you came off.
“It was amazing because we were looking for the goal all the second half. We were trying. I think we played a good game in the second half and luckily Christiana put her head on the ball and scored,” said Italy captain Barbara Bonancy.
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