After years of being ignored in Italy, the national women’s team face the prospect of a place in the 2019 World Cup – while the men sit at home

There are two hard truths in Italian football; first, that the men’s national team, four times world champions, are virtually guaranteed a spot in the World Cup every four years. And second, that not much has been expected from the women’s team, who last earned a place among the best of the best in 1999.

This year, all of that is being turned on its head. The Azzurri failed to earn their chance in Russia next year after being eliminated by Sweden earlier this month – a defeat that stunned the nation and elicited comparisons to the end of days.

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