Italy continues dream run at the Women’s World Cup after upset of China

The biggest surprise of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup continues for another round.

Italy defeated China 2-0 in a Round of 16 match in Montpellier, France.

The Italians, ranked 15th in the world entering the Women’s World Cup, were not favored in their group with Australia and Brazil. Then they shocked the Australians, before topping the group due to goal difference after a 1-0 loss to Brazil on the final group matchday.

That led to Tuesday’s match with China, which was seeking a sixth quarterfinal appearance. Instead, it’s Italy advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time since the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991.

A stingy defense that has conceded only one goal in the tournament including Tuesday’s clean sheet, is reminiscent to what the Italian’s men’s team was known for in four World Cup titles.

The women’s team has been a revelation at the Women’s World Cup, and found goals from Valentina Giacinti (15th minute) and Aurora Galli (49th minute).

Italy faces the winner of the Netherlands and Japan on Saturday in a quarterfinal.

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.