The 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup kicks off this weekend and Andrea Di Giandomenico’s Italy will aim to qualify for the second stage of the World Championship.. Blue will face Canada, USA and Japan in the group stage. Let’s see what to expect from Italy’s opponents.
Italy’s first game is against the USA on Sunday 9th October. The Americans are historically one of the strongest women’s national teams in the world, but they come into the World Championship meet with more doubts than convictions. Slipping behind the Blues in the world rankings, they mustered very little joy in recent months. If the knockouts to England and New Zealand were obvious, defeats against Canada (36-5) and Ireland weighed down, while in the last 12 months they have only struggled to beat Australia. In short, it will be a rudimentary introduction to the circuit, and Baratin and his teammates will need to be perfect to secure a historic, yet achievable, victory.
A week later it was Canada’s turn and that, on paper, would be another story. The Canadians are a third world force, they won the blue in one of the summer friendlies in preparation for the tournament and in recent times they have shown that England and New Zealand are not the only ones on their side. Therefore, the one with the North Americans appears to be a difficult challenge for the blue in this first stage, Bettoni and his teammates will aim for the maximum spoils, but the knockout will not be a tragedy, after all, in this case it is necessary to think about the final race of the best third and close the gap.
The last match of the first leg is against Japan on Sunday, October 23. In theory, the simple competition for blue is with the Japanese, who are not historically an invincible army, sitting at 13th in the world rankings and considered the Cinderella of the group. But be careful, because commitment should not be underestimated for two basic reasons. First, as already mentioned when talking about Canada, the best-third repechage hypothesis implies clearly winning a match like the match against Japan, winning by as much as possible by a point margin. But, after all, before the World Cup, Japan managed to beat Ireland in a friendly match, so they should not be underestimated too much in order to avoid dangerous surprises.
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