Italy and Spain have followed hosts France in securing their qualification berths for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Le Azzurre booked their ticket with a convincing 3-0 victory over Portugal at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence on Friday evening. Cristiana Girelli scored the winner just four minutes into the contest before Cecilia Salvai doubled Italy’s advantage just before the quarter-hour mark. Barbara Bonansea sealed the win for the home side with a third goal in second-half stoppage time.
With a 100 per cent record of seven victories from seven matches, Milena Bertolini’s charges will finish top of European zone Group 6, with one qualifier still to play away to Belgium on 4 September.
France 2019 will be Italy’s third appearance at a Women’s World Cup and their first in 20 years when they failed to reach the knockout stage at USA 1999. At the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991, the Italians reached the quarter-finals in China PR.
Earlier on Friday, Spain secured their berth for France 2019 after a 2-0 win by Austria in Finland, combined with La Roja‘s 2-0 victory over Israel in Murcia on Thursday, ensured their spot at next year’s world finals. With 18 points from six matches played, leaders Spain cannot be caught by their rivals in European zone Group 7.
This will be Spain’s second appearance at the world finals, having made their debut at the last edition of women’s football’s showpiece event, where they were unable to reach the knockout stage at Canada 2015.