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Cabrini answers call of Italy

"I accept this challenge with great enthusiasm," explained former FIFA World Cup winner Antonio Cabrini after being appointed coach of Italy's women's national team.

Antonio Cabrini has been appointed coach of Italy
Antonio Cabrini has been appointed coach of Italy ©Getty Images

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) have appointed Antonio Cabrini as coach of the women's national team after Pietro Ghedin left his post earlier this month to take over Malta's men's national side.

"I accept this challenge with great enthusiasm," said the former left-back, who won the 1982 FIFA World Cup with the Azzurri. "I thank the federation for this opportunity: female football is growing fast in Italy. Maybe it's early to reach the level of teams like Japan and the United States, but certainly we are not a small team.

"I'm sure this team can work well and continue the good work done under Ghedin," the 54-year-old continued. "He did a great job here and I'm glad to have the opportunity to take over from him. Before talking about tactical aspects, I want to meet the players on the pitch, but I don't think there is much difference with the men's national team."

Capped 73 times by Italy – and ten as captain – Cabrini scored nine goals in an Azzurri shirt. He spent most of his club career at Juventus, winning the Scudetto six times and all the three major UEFA club competitions: the UEFA Cup in 1976/77, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1983/84 and the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1984/85.

After retiring in 1991, he coached several teams in the lower divisions, including a spell in Serie B with FC Crotone and later a brief stint in charge of Syria. He will make his debut in the Italy dugout on 16 June against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying Group 1. The Azzurre currently boast maximum points after seven games in the section and one more victory would seal their place in Sweden next July.