Coach Milena Bertolini feels they cannot progress until her players are recognised professional athletes, but “we got Italy passionate about women’s football and that is the real success of this World Cup.”
The Azzurre hadn’t even participated in the World Cup for 20 years, but reached the quarter-finals and were only eliminated by a 2-0 defeat to European Champions Holland.
“It’s disappointing t go out, as we were experiencing a wonderful adventure, but the stronger team progressed,” said Coach Bertolini in her Press conference.
“The girls are now more aware of their quality, as none of them had previously participated in a World Cup. That lack of experience and the emotional intensity took a lot out of them.
“However, this is only the beginning and we’ve laid the foundations for the future. I want to thank my staff, who worked with passion, intensity and competence.”
Bertolini pointed out straight after the game that Italy had done remarkably well considering there is no professional status for women’s football players in the Peninsula.
“I hope that the law changes to make women’s football players professional in Italy, as they must have the same opportunities as their colleagues abroad do.
“I see the difference above all once we get into the top eight in the world. My girls gave their all, but could not possibly face their rivals on a level playing field.”
The movement hopes to ride on the extraordinary wave of passion created by the Azzurre, as viewing figures for their World Cup games went far beyond any expectations.
“I am proud that we managed to get Italy passionate about women’s football and that is the real success of this World Cup.”