Iceland vs Italy 1-1: Bergamaschi Keeps Azzurre Hopes Alive

Italy’s chances to make it past the group stage at Women’s Euro 2022 are still alive as the Azzurre salvaged a point to hold Iceland to a 1-1 draw in Manchester on Thursday. Italy conceded an early goal to the Nordics but managed to put themselves back on track and drew level with Valentina Bergamaschi in the second half.

Milena Bertolini’s ladies now have one point after two games and will need to beat Belgium on Monday in their last group stage game to hope to book a ticket to the Quarter Finals.

After last Sunday’s rout against France, Bertolini had asked her roster for a reaction. The Azzurre deserve praises for keeping their cool despite going down after just three minutes but were surely hoping to make a full score against an opponent that is placed below them in the FIFA ranking.

Bertolini made a few changes to her lineup, switching from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 module where Sunday’s goalscorer Martina Piemonte spearheaded the attack alongside Valentina Giacinti, with Barbara Bonansea and Cristiana Girelli dropping to the bench.

However, the team’s approach was not what one would have expected. With three minutes on the clock, a throw-in from the Icelandic was missed by Piemonte and ended on Sara Gama’s feet. The Juventus’ defender’s clearance was ineffective and basically delivered the ball to Karolina Lea Vilhjalmsdottir. Another bad mistake for the Azzurre’s captain, who served Iceland an easy chance to draw first blood.

This time, though, Italy managed to keep their focus on and started to pile up the pressure on the Nordics’ defense. There were chances for Bergamaschi, Arianna Caruso, and Piemonte, but the Icelandic wall held until half time.

Bertolini brought in striker Bonansea after the restart, eventually adding Girelli and then Elisa Bartoli to replace Gama at the back. Iceland gave a big scare to the Azzurre as Alexandra Johannsdottir failed an easy chance to double her side’s lead on 61 minutes.

Right after that, though, Italy had their equalizer as Simonetti served Bonansea and the Juventus player offered a golden assist to Bergamaschi in the middle of the box. She made no mistake to put an Italian side that seemed headed towards the exit gate suddenly back into the Women’s Euro.

Bergamashi’s goal ignited new life into the Azzurre, who came close to score again – but Bonansea’s effort was deflected on the post by the goalkeeper. Then, it was Iceland to have the last chance as goalscorer Vilhjalmsdottir missed an easy close-range conversion with only three minutes to go. Italy could breathe a sigh of relief.

Their Euro journey is not over but the feeling is that this team has been far from expressing its full potential yet.