Ever since Juventus created a women’s team, having a strong Italian core and a heavy presence at the national team level has been a constant theme. It was that way four years ago when the Azzurre, playing in their first Women’s World Cup in two decades, were one of the biggest surprises in France. Same goes for the Euros last summer where things didn’t go so well for the Italian women in England.
That theme has rung true once again this summer.
Italy manager Milena Bertolini has officially announced her 23-player squad that will take part in the Women’s World Cup later this summer. And, as expected, it has a heavy influence of Juventus Women players, with over a third of the roster representing the Bianconere. A grand total of nine Juve players have been selected, with a couple of surprises thrown in there as well to push the total just a tick over what things looked like during the Women’s World Cup four years ago.
The chamber orchestra worth of Juve players representing Italy are: Lisa Boattin, Cecilia Salvai, Martina Lenzini, Arianna Caruso, Valentina Cernoia, Barbara Bonansea, Cristiana Girelli, Sofia Cantore and youngster Chiara Beccari.
Of course, there very well could have been more, with Bertolini choosing to omit long-standing captain Sara Gama and midfielder Martina Rosucci still recovering from major knee surgery that took place in the spring.
Below is the full 23-player roster that Bertolini has called up for the Women’s World Cup later this month:
Portieri: Rachele Baldi (Fiorentina), Francesca Durante (Inter), Laura Giuliani (Milan);
Difensori: Elisa Bartoli (Roma), Lisa Boattin (Juventus), Lucia Di Guglielmo (Roma), Maria Luisa Filangeri (Sassuolo)*, Martina Lenzini (Juventus), Elena Linari (Roma), Beatrice Merlo (Inter)*, Benedetta Orsi (Sassuolo), Cecilia Salvai (Juventus);
Centrocampiste: Arianna Caruso (Juventus), Valentina Cernoia (Juventus), Giulia Dragoni (Barcelona), Manuela Giugliano (Roma), Giada Greggi (Roma), Emma Severini (Fiorentina);
Attaccanti: Chiara Beccari (Juventus), Barbara Bonansea (Juventus), Sofia Cantore (Juventus), Valentina Giacinti (Roma), Cristiana Girelli (Juventus), Benedetta Glionna (Roma), Annamaria Serturini (Roma).
* Joining the team for the preparation period in New Zealand
As much as the likes of Girelli, Caruso, Bonansea, Salvai and Boattin were absolute locks to make the squad barring any kind of last-minute change, there are some surprises here from a Juventus point of view.
And Beccari is easily the biggest of the Juve contingent.
One of Juve’s brightest young talents, Beccari — who won’t turn 19 until September — had a strong season on loan at Como, which was quite the bold move by sporting director Stefano Barghin considering she still hadn’t even signed her first professional contract yet. The young forward, however, proved to be up to the task for the Serie A Femminile newcomers, as she started all but one of her 21 appearances and scored five goals to go with two assists.
Beccari, however, isn’t the youngest player on Italy’s roster despite being just 18 years old. That distinction belongs 16-year-old midfielder Giulia Dragoni, who plays her club football for Barcelona. A third teenager, 19-year-old Emma Severini who plays for Fiorentina,
Both Dragoni and Severini just made their senior debuts over the weekend.
Italy opens Women’s World Cup group stage play on Sunday, July 23, against Argentina. They will also face Sweden and South Africa during the group stage as they look to advance to the knockout rounds for the second consecutive Women’s World Cup.