UPDATE: 49’ — Yaya gonna Yaya! It’s 2-0 Italy.
Aurora Galli, a surprise first-half substitute for Cristiana Girelli, bags another long-range goal on a sweet right-footed strike from outside the box. It was perfectly placed into the bottom corner, with China’s keeper unable to even get a hand on the low but powerful strike.
After how China closed the first half, a 2-0 lead is exactly what Italy needed.
HALFTIME: Italy holding onto to their 1-0 lead for dear life after seeing China really come on strong after Giacinti’s opener. Italy dominated the opening 15 minutes or so, but China had almost all of the scoring chances in the final 25 minutes of the first half, testing the Azzurre’s defense quite a bit as the game went on.
UPDATE: 28’ — Laura Giuliani doing Laura Giuliani things in goal for Italy.
UPDATE: 15’ — GOAL ITALY!
A handful of close calls for Italy — including another goal called back because of offsides — right out of the gate sees a reward arrive. Valentina Giacinti started the attack with loads of high pressure on the right wing, then gets her first goal of the tournament after a scramble in the box that saw Elisa Bartoli see her initial shot denied.
Also of note: Giacinti is also the first non-Juventus Women player to score a goal for Italy at this tournament.
Back before the first game got underway at the Women’s World Cup, the general line of thinking was that Italy needed to have a lot go their way to be able to make it out of the group stages. A couple of weeks later, and a lot did indeed go Italy’s way — so much so that the team that finished atop Group C was the same one that many didn’t even pick to make it out of the group stage.
Now it’s time for the knockout stage, a portion of the tournament that Italy hasn’t participated in since the summer of 1991 when the Women’s World Cup first debuted.
After a week off between their 1-0 loss to Brazil and tonight’s round of 16 fixture against China, the Azzurre get to jump back into the fray.
And, because of how the group stage went, there’s a whole lot more expectations attached to this squad now than a couple of weeks ago.
That’s not to say the expectation is to suddenly say this time should win the World Cup. At this point, with what the expectation was entering the tournament, it’s house money. Not many people expected Italy to get to this stage of the Women’s World Cup, let alone find themselves as group winners and in a favorable spot to make the quarterfinals.
All that’s left is to go out there, get the win over China and actually get to the quarterfinals.
Sounds like a good idea, no?
Stick around as this post is updated throughout the match. And don’t by shy, this is a game thread, too, folks.
When: Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Where: Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier, France
Official kickoff time: 6 p.m. local time in France and across Europe; 5 p.m. in the United Kingdom; High noon Eastern Time; 9 a.m. Pacific Time
HOW TO WATCH
Television: Fox Sports 1, UNIVERSO (United States); TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5, RDS (Canada); BBC Two (United Kingdom); Sky Sport Uno, RAI Sport 1, Rai Sport+ HD (Italy)
Online/mobile: FuboTV, NBC Sports Live Extra App, UNIVERSO NOW, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (United States); TSN GO, RDS GO (Canada); BBC Sports Live, BBC iPlayer (United Kingdom); RAI Play, SKY Go Italia (Italy)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.