Girelli-inspired Italy into World Cup knockouts after thumping Jamaica
Reims (France) (AFP)
Cristiana Girelli fired Italy into the last 16 of the Women's World Cup on Friday with a controversial VAR-assisted hat-trick that helped see off hapless Jamaica 5-0 and put them top of Group C.
Italy join France and Germany in the knockout stages following the Juventus striker's treble and a late brace from Aurora Galli, which gives Milena Bertolini's side a perfect six points -- three more than both Australia and Brazil -- and puts them through with a game to spare.
However the penalty with which Girelli opened her tournament account caused controversy, with referee Anna-Marie Keighley pointing to the spot after a VAR check in the 10th minute for a what looked like a soft foul on Barabara Bonansea.
Girelli then missed the spot-kick, but Keighley allowed her to retake following another VAR check that Jamaica goalkeeper Sydney Schneider had encroached.
The 29-year-old made no mistake the second time round -- two minutes after the original penalty was given -- before doubling Italy's lead 13 minutes later when she bundled home Bonansea's flick-on from a corner.
Girelli became just the second Italian woman to score a World Cup hat-trick just after the break when she beat Schneider to a looping cross.
Substitute Galli then completed the rout, first firing home a long-range effort in the 71st minute before neatly taking Manuela Giugliano's through ball and rounding Schneider to slot home the fifth 10 minutes later.
Later on Friday England look to join the Italians in the last 16 with a win over Argentina.
? 2019 AFP