Ever since she put on the Juventus jersey, Barbara Bonansea has been one of the best players the bianconere have to offer. She’s scored goals, she’s set up goals, she’s done just about everything you can ask out of an attacking player that is a cornerstone of your newfound women’s team.
The Bonansea Show hit the Women’s World Cup for the first time on Sunday afternoon.
And even with the offsides flag doing the best to try and slow her down, Bonansea proved to be just about the kind of driving force that she is on the club level.
Bonansea’s day that started with a goal being called off due to being a couple inches offside ended with the kind of moment that will stick with this Italian women’s national team no matter what else happens at the Women’s World Cup this summer. Bonansea’s 95th-minute game winner capped an absolutely frantic second-half comeback and an even crazier closing minutes of chaos to give Italy a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Australia.
Not bad for your first Women’s World Cup game in two decades, huh?
Bonansea, one of six Juventus Women players that got the start against Australia, was the attacking stalwart just as Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani — yes, another one of the Juve contingent — was an absolute rock at the back for her team against one of the better attacking and more dangerous offensive teams you will see at this tournament. She got the penalty save — albeit it ended up in Sam Kerr getting the game-opening goal midway through the first half — and make a handful of other key stops to keep Australia’s advantage at 1-0.
As I was going to lede with if the game ended 1-1: It was Bonansea’s goal that allowed Italy to get a point, but if it wasn’t for Giuliani’s efforts in goal then Australia would be walking away from their tournament opener with a relatively comfortable win.
Instead, Italy’s coming away with all three.
And it took plenty of second-half fireworks to do just that.
It’s the kind of result that almost makes you want to jump around ....
Thank you, Laura.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Late-game wins over Australia by Italy, you say? Where have I seen this before ...
- I don’t usually cuss in my posts, but holy shit is Sam Kerr good at footballing.
- Australia’s counterattack is so fast, man. Actually, the way they get into attack mode is just as fast. It’s the kind of fast that had me basically having that “Oh no ...” kind of feeling whenever they had the ball at their feet with plenty of green grass in front of them.
- Italy’s final numbers aren’t all that pretty at all — 43 percent possession, 59 percent pass success — but the amount of pressure that they put Australia under in the second half is why they’re coming away with three points. After having a goal disallowed because a tough yet correct call, to give up a goal in that kind of fashion, that was just about as perfect of a second-half response as you could have asked for from Italy.
- The move Bonansea put on the Australian defender right before her first goal ... chef’s kiss.
- Bonansea’s ability to finish between a defender’s legs and sneak it in the side netting as she’s falling down ... sniper.
- I really have no idea how Valentina Cernoia is going to be able to walk after that game because she was about as beat up — both on the giving and receiving end of tackles — as anybody out on that field. She also showed why she’s Italy’s best midfielder in the process, too.
- Outside of the penalty, Italy’s defense was the definition of bend but don’t break. Obviously Giuliani had to come up big in goal on multiple occasions, but the likes of Gama and the other defenders were doing plenty of scrambling to make sure Australia’s dangerous Kerr-led attack didn’t add onto its lead before Bonansea tied it up.
- You want to announce yourself as an underdog that can shake up a group, you do what Italy just did. That was pretty damn fun ... and also quite nerve wracking at the same time.