Italy Captain Force Fed A Shoe, Inspires Team To 5-0 Rout Of Jamaica

Italy is through to the knockout rounds for the first time since 1991 thanks to a 5-0 rout of Jamaica on Friday. Cristiana Girelli scored a hat trick and Aurora Galli added two for the Azzurre, but the Italians’ second straight victory was exemplified by the team captain, center back Sara Gama.

Gama, a 30-year-old Juventus center back, marshalled a back line that quieted the dangerous Khadija Shaw, the leading scorer in Women’s World Cup qualifying with 19 goals. 

She also took a boot to the face from Shaw and kept on bossing the match.

In the 58th minute, Gama won a header in the box to clear a loose ball, only to have Shaw’s toe smash into her mouth.

Gama’s teammates immediately called for assistance from the medical staff, but after realizing she hadn’t lost any teeth, the Azzurre captain was quickly back in action.

Italy dominated the match on both ends, scoring as many goals over 90 minutes as it did in its last four Women’s World Cup games combined. The Azzurre hadn’t been to the Women’s World Cup since 1999 and haven’t been to the knockout rounds since 1991. 

Italy vs Jamaica Highlights

The goals came early and often for Italy, starting with a controversial penalty kick by Girelli. New Jersey native Sydney Schneider initially saved Girelli’s effort, only for VAR to rule she had stepped off her line, giving Girelli a second opportunity, which she buried.

The call was harsh, but the right one. Italy made sure that wasn’t the talking point with four more goals, including Girelli completing her hat trick by the first minute of the second half. 

Aurora Galli then added a brace, scoring in the 71st and 81st minutes. Her first was an absolute rocket.

The only more emphatic victory at this tournament was the USWNT throttling Thailand 13-0

Italy now has six points from two matches and could win the group with a win or draw against Brazil on Tuesday. For a team that hasn’t been to the Women’s World Cup in 20 years, topping a group that includes Australia and Brazil would be a great achievement. But with Gama leading a defense that has only been breached following a Sam Kerr penalty kick, the Azzurre look every bit as strong as some of Italy’s men’s World Cup winners. They certainly gave Gianluigi Buffon a run for his money singing the national anthem before Friday’s match. 

Jamaica’s Women’s World Cup, meanwhile, is all but over after back-to-back heavy defeats. The Reggae Girlz opened the tournament — their first ever — with a 3-0 defeat to Brazil and must close it with a match against an Australian side that is flying high after a comeback win over the Seleçao on Thursday. 

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