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Girelli Hat Trick Downs Jamaica, Puts Italy Through to Next Round

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The Azzurre made quick work of Jamaica in today's 5-0 romp.

Jamaica v Italy: Group C - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

In the build up to Italy's match against Jamaica, the last place squad in Group C, we questioned exactly how Milena Bertolini would approach this match; would she try to overwhelm Jamaica or play the traditional Italian counter-attacking football that worked so well against Australia last weekend? Against the Matildas letting the match come to them made sense—the Aussies were better on paper—but there were no such concerns against Jamaica this afternoon; Italy made their presence known almost immediately.

Sensing an opportunity to assert their dominance and control the group, Bertolini made a few subtle changes from the lineup that shocked Australia last time out. Switching to an attacking 4-4-2, Bertolini put Roma captain Elisa Bartoli in at left back, pushed last week's hero Barbara Bonansea back into a wide role while running with Daniela Sabatino and Cristiana Girelli up top.

Apropos of nothing, here's the anthem.

It's so good to hear this anthem sung before a World Cup match again, isn't it? And while no one can quite match Gigi's flair, you gotta love their choreography at the end there.

Speaking of flair, it didn't take terribly long for Italy to make their mark on this match. In only the 12th minute, Bonansea drew a VAR-induced penalty in the box after being shoulder barged by Roma defender Allyson Swaby, resulting in a rather strange sequence of events.

Cristiana Girelli: 12th Minute (Jamaica 0, Italy 1)

Full marks to Schneider here, she read this thing perfectly and snuffed out the faintest hopes for a rebound, but by virtue of coming off the line (or at least not having both feet there) Girelli was gifted a second chance, one she slotted away low and left.

Girelli would strike again about ten minutes later when she found her way to the end of a cross, or rather the cross found her after bounding through several players.

Cristiana Girelli: 26th Minute (Jamaica 0, Italy 2)

This goal probably won't end up on her career highlight reel, by Girelli was right where she needed to be to score this one. After skipping past three players and bouncing in the box, the ball nestled right in front of Girelli's hip, which she used to subtly re-direct the ball past a helpless Schneider, doubling Italy's lead in the process.

These weren't exactly two beautifully orchestrated goals, but whether they needed VAR or a couple bounces is irrelevant; Italy capitalized when it mattered most and entered the locker room with a cushy two goal lead.

Second Half

It, uh, didn't take long for that lead to increase. Not content with a lead built on penalties and set pieces, Italy came right out and put Jamaica even further on the back heel.

Cristiana Girelli: 46th Minute (Jamaica 0, Cristiana Girelli 3)

First of all, tremendous effort from Valentina Bergamaschi who drove the ball to the corner and then whipped around, keeping two defenders off her, before finding Manuela Giugliano some 25 yards out from the goal. From there, Giugliano plays a picture perfect ball into Girelli, who simply out leaped Schneider, scoring the goal with the side of her head.

Three-nil, match over, Italy on to the knockout phase.

Of course, there was still 40 some odd minutes to play, but Italy kept their foot on the gas, making light work of the Jamaica defense, but the Reggae Girlz would fight back a bit, striking the woodwork twice. Signs of life for sure, but not nearly enough to make a dent in Italy's lead, one that grew even further.

Aurora Galli: 71st Minute (Jamaica 0, Italy 4)

Just a killer goal from Galli. Ignore the complete lack of defense for a moment and just appreciate how precisely she placed this shot into the upper 90 from 20 yards out. Great effort from Schneider to even get a finger on this one, but Galli left little doubt on this one.

Aurora Galli: 81st Minute (Jamaica 0, Italy 5)

Galli would double her tally ten minutes later following another superb pass from Giugliano, who threaded it past the defense to find Galli perfect in stride, giving Schneider virtually no chance to stop it. Seriously, look at that fucking pass.

Conclusions

There isn't much I can say that your eyes probably didn't verify; Italy absolutely ran Jamaica off the pitch today, dominating nearly every facet of the match. And while the first two goals were sort of fluky (or VARy), Italy left no doubt as to who was the better side in the second half.

We profiled the Azzurre as your typical Italian team—tactically focused and reserved—but through their first two tilts in this World Cup, Italy looks like a wide open, overlapping attacking team, one brimming with confidence, one that could potentially make some noise now that the knockout rounds are beckoning.

Italy run it back against Brazil on the 18th. Don't miss it!