Italy's first taste of the World Cup in one score (look it up unless you're a devout Lincoln fan) was one to remember. After nearly seizing the lead early in the match, only to have their debut goal called back thanks to a delayed offside call, Italy fell behind when Sam Kerr won a soft penalty off Azzurre captain Sara Gama.
Things were looking pretty bleak until Barbara Bonansea made the match her own, single handedly downing the Matildas with two second half goals, including a last gasp header in the 95th minute that gave Italy their first World Cup victory in decades.
But more than that, it put Italy in the driver's seat to advance to the knockout stages, a seat that could get even more comfortable with a victory over Jamaica today, As it stands right now, Italy, Brazil, and Australia are all level on three points, but effectively having a match in hand, Italy can (barring a complete collapse in the final group stage match) pretty much secure their ticket to the next round.
Against Australia, Italy were up against it: a better side on paper, arguably one of the world's best players (Kerr) and twenty years of history weighing on their shoulders. In that match, Italy were content to sit back and use the counter attacking speed of Bonansea, Cristiana Girelli and Manuela Giugliano to catch the Aussies napping, but with the advantage in talent and momentum on their side, it will be interesting to see what approach manager Milena Bertolini takes—sit back or attack outright?
Either way, this should be a good one, and one that could feature as many as three Roma players (Elisa Bartoli for Italy and Trudi Carter and Allyson Swaby for Jamaica).
Jamaica vs. Italy
Kickoff: Noon EDT/18:00 CDT
Venue: Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims
Streaming: Fubo TV