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Italy's Laura Giuliani on dodgeball, making herself heard and how prevention is better than cure for goalkeepers – interview

"The perfect match is the one that ends with me not being dirty and without having faced any shots," says the Italy keeper as she looks ahead to UEFA Women's EURO 2022.

 Laura Giuliani: "I'm a prevention-style goalkeeper"
Laura Giuliani: "I'm a prevention-style goalkeeper" Getty Images

Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani is preparing for action at UEFA Women's EURO 2022, the 28-year-old having been involved in the Azzurre senior ranks since she was 20.

A member of the Italy squad at Netherlands 2017 before reaching the quarter-finals of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, the AC Milan keeper hopes that the standard of competition in England will bring the best out of her side.

On what to expect from Italy at Women's EURO 2022

Great Italy Women's EURO goals

Our national team is a group. There are no individual players that stand out. We have a very proactive and aggressive style. I like the idea of playing on the front foot, a lot of battles and one-on-ones all over the pitch. Obviously, when you play this way, you have to watch out for counterattacks and cover the space behind the defence. I'm working specifically on that; I do that at Milan. It's a major characteristic of this team and the coach.

We are ready. The date is highlighted in our calendar. We already know that the EURO will have a higher level of competition compared to the Women's World Cup; just think about how seven of the eight teams in the quarter-finals were European.

On attitudes to female goalkeepers

Great Women's EURO saves

The role of a goalkeeper in women's football is very different to that in men's football. Physically, we are built different; even in more dynamic roles we perform differently, so they can't be compared. Watching a women's football match won't be the same as watching a men's football match.

In women's football, many goals are scored under the crossbar because we don't have the strength to jump up so high and because a typical shot doesn't take an arrow-like trajectory; it's more like a lob. What we can work on is our positioning, to try and always be in the right spot, to prevent the shot and communicate with our team-mates for help.

On why she became a goalkeeper

Giuliani making herself heard with Italy's U20 side in 2012
Giuliani making herself heard with Italy's U20 side in 2012FIFA via Getty Images

[As a] girl, I always loved playing dodgeball. I liked to be the last one remaining because I wanted to free the others – I had to catch the balls and throw them to the other side of the field and free my team-mates. So, I liked the idea of being the team's last line of defence. Then, when they put me in goal, they saw that I was rather good, and it all just carried on from that moment onwards.

I'm a prevention-style goalkeeper. If I can avoid a shot on goal by calling a team-mate to snuff out a move, I do it. The perfect match is the one that ends with me not being dirty and without having faced any shots because I've communicated well with my team-mates. My method to stay focused on the match when I'm not busy is to communicate, so if you come to see one of our matches, you can hear me talking and screaming for 90 minutes.

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