Italy are through to the quarter-finals of the ongoing FIFA Women's World Cup (WWC) after beating China 2-0 in their Round of 16 encounter at the Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier on Tuesday.
A goal in each half from forward Valentina Giacinti (15th) and substitute Aurora Gialli (49th) helped Le Azzure of Italy reach the quarter-finals of the WWC for the first time since 1991 their appearance at the maiden edition.
Valentina Giacinti celebrates the opener for Le Azzure
By the victory, the Italians have become the sixth European side to reach the quarter-finals of this competition as Germany, France, England, Sweden and Norway have all booked their way.
Le Azzure who advanced to this stage after topping Group C, right from the start made their intentions clear and got the opening goal on the 15th minute when Giacinti took advantage of a goalmouth melee to slot in past the goalkeeper.
Aurora Gialli scored Italy's second goal after coming off the bench
Gialli, Italy's super sub, made it 2-0 almost immediately the second half resumed, exploiting a break in the Chinese defence to release a thunderbolt to score her third goal at this tournament.
Interestingly, all three goals have beecn scored having come off from the bench.
Italy coach Milena Bertolini on the 39th minute, brought on Galli for Cristiana Girelli, who was suffering in the heat and once again, that change paid off, just as it did against Jamaica when the midfielder came on to score.
Italy now await the winners of The Netherlands v Japan match to be played later on Tuesday as the last match of this knockout stage.
Le Azzure are in the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup for the first time since 1991
Round of 16 results
Germany 3, Nigeria 0
England 3, Cameroun 0
Norway 4, Australia 1
*(penalties after 1-1 draw result)
France 2, Brazil 1
(after extra time)
Sweden 1, Canada 0
Spain 1, USA 2