Italy's hopes of reaching their first FIFA Women's World Cup finals since 1999 were ended by the United States, meaning UEFA's representatives in Monday's draw will be hosts Germany, England, France, Norway and Sweden.
Having topped a qualifying group, lost a play-off to France and then won further two-legged ties against Ukraine and Switzerland, Italy earned a chance to meet the third-placed finishers in the CONCACAF tournament for a finals berth. However, the US – twice World Cup winners – prevailed 1-0 with a last-gasp goal in the first leg a week ago and tonight in Bridgeview, near Chicago, they ran out victors by the same scoreline.
Pia Sundhage chose the same starting eleven as in Padova last week, while Italy's coach Pietro Ghedin made two changes – right-back Sara Gama and forward Pamela Conti in for Raffaella Manieri and Marta Carissimi. Without striker Melania Gabbiadini, who missed the play-off with an ankle injury, Ghedin said it would be "very difficult" to score against the United States and he was right.
The Azzurre tried to put pressure on in the early stages but it was the USA who broke the deadlock five minutes before the break through Amy Rodriguez. Anna Maria Picarelli tried to push away Megan Rapinoe's powerful shot, but the 23-year-old Rodriguez was perfectly positioned to poke in the winner. Trailing 2-0 on aggregate, Italy were unable to create anything substantial after the interval with the hosts looking more likely to extend their advantage.
The draw will be made at the Messe Frankfurt at 19.30 CET on Monday, with the finals running from 26 June to 17 July 2011. Reigning European champions Germany will be aiming for a third successive World Cup, and alongside the hosts and four UEFA qualifiers, also involved will be Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Australia, Korea DPR, Japan, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Brazil and Colombia.
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