Italy was probably supposed to so something close to what it did to Jamaica on Friday.
Jamaica entered the 2019 Women’s World Cup as the lowest ranked team in the field, while Italy is a top 15 team in the world and arrived in France with the expectation to reach the knockout stages.
It wasn’t necessarily supposed to be a bludgeoning, though.
Less than a week after upsetting Australia for the most thrilling win of the Women’s World Cup so far, Italy romped to a 5-0 win against Jamaica in Reims, the second most lopsided win of the tournament behind only the United States’ 13-0 thrashing of Thailand.
Not bad for a team playing in the World Cup for the first time in 20 years.
Even as one of the 16 best teams in the world, Italy’s path to the knockout stages was never supposed to be so simple.
Australia and Brazil entered as the clear-cut top two teams in the group with Italy a clear third. After one game, the complexion changed.
Italy scored on the final kick of the game to stun Australia on Sunday and put itself in prime position to advance. On Thursday, Australia took down Brazil, 3-2, to open the door for Italy to win the group with just a victory against Jamaica.
Just a win wasn’t enough for Italy.
Striker Cristiana Girelli converted a penalty kick in the 12th minute, then scored again in the 25th minute and completed her hat trick in the 46th minute.
Midfielder Aurora Galli added two more for good measure in the final 20 minutes to turn Friday at Stade Auguste-Delaune into a statement for the World Cup’s most surprising contender.
Italy, which had only even played one top 15 team in 2019 before the World Cup, will have a chance to make one last statement — and get one final test — before it moves on to the knockout stages. On Tuesday, Italy will get a chance to cap a perfect run through the group stage when it faces Brazil in the Group C finale.
No matter how it ends, this is already a historic run for Italy, which has only reached the knockout round once before in 1991.