Italy 2-0 Netherlands: Giacinti and Bonfantini get Le Azzurre’s EURO2025 qualifying off to a winning start

Italy opened their EURO2025 qualification campaign at the first time of asking, with a comfortable 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in Cosenza. Goals for Valentina Giacinti and Agnese Bonfantini either side of half-time were enough for Andrea Soncin’s side to overcome a surprisingly underwhelming Dutch outfit, despite the likes of Lineth Beerensteyn, Victoria Pelova and Romée Leuchter et al all being present.

As it happened

Comprehensively swept aside by defending champions England in February’s friendly encounter in Spain, Italy needed only four minutes to get back in their stride as Valentina Giacinti broke the deadlock with a sublimely-struck strike – down in part to Manuela Giugliano’s defence-splitting through ball to her.

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Seeking their first-ever EURO title after finishing as runners-up in 1997, Soncin’s side showcased an unparalleled attacking prowess throughout the first half as Netherlands goalkeeper Lize Kop – in the absence of Daphne van Domselaar, who recently underwent surgery on a problematic hip injury – made a hat-trick of saves to keep the scoreline at only the one goal as the game headed into the interval.

On course for a historic first-ever head-to-head double over the 2017 winners of the competition, Italy doubled their lead not long before the hour-mark. It was virtually impossible for Bonfantini not to get her name onto the scoresheet, as the winger was left with the simplest of tasks as she tapped the ball over the line from underneath the crossbar after domestic teammate Michela Cambiaghi’s cross-shot had caused all kinds of problems for Kop.

In an attempt to mount a sensational comeback, Netherlands manager Andries Jonker called upon Leuchter from the dugout to replace the ineffectual Daniëlle van de Donk – hoping the in-form 27-goal this season Ajax striker could improve his side’s misfortunes in front of goal. However, disappointingly for the Dutch, they concluded their evening with only four shots on target ahead of their clash against Norway on Tuesday.

The lineups

ITA: Giuliani; Bartoli, Lenzini, Linari, Boatti; Bonfantini, Caruso, Giugliano, Giada Greggi; Giacinti, Bonansea

NED: Kop; Brugts, Grant, Janssen, Dijkstra; Spitse, Kaptein, Egurrola; Pelova, Beerensteyn, van de Donk