June 14 (UPI) — Cristiana Girelli paced Italy to a lopsided group stage victory over Jamaica at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World cup by netting a hat-trick in the 5-0 triumph Friday in Reims, France.
Girelli scored goals in the 12th minute, 25th minute and the 46th minute of the Group C clash. Aurora Galli added two more scores in the 71st minute and the 81st minute.
“I have a hard time believing that I’ve scored three goals in a World Cup game; it’s extraordinary,” Girelli told reporters. “But as my coach said, it’s pure joy for us to play together.”
“When we win, it gives us a big jolt of energy. We’ve been together day-in day-out for two months. Most people who are in close quarters for that long may start beating each other, but we don’t, we get along really well.”
The Italians lead Group C with six points, topping Brazil, Australia and Jamaica. Friday’s win clinched Italy’s spot in the round of 16.
Girelli beat Jamaican keeper Sydney Schneider for her first tally on the second attempt of a penalty kick after Schneider came off of her line too early on the first effort. Schneider blocked the initial attempt, but the save was overturned by VAR review.
She added her second score in the 25th minute. That score came on a corner kick into box. Manuela Guigliano flicked the feed onto Girelli, who netted the score by touching the ball with her thigh. The score helped Italy hold a 2-0 lead at the break.
Girelli completed her hat-trick about 45 seconds into the second half. Guigliano curled a beautiful feed to the far post during that sequence. Girelli calmly waited for the ball to arrive before tapping in her third score past Schneider.
Galli added her first score of the game with an absolute rip past Schneider. The Italian center midfielder uncorked the laser from just outside the box, blasting the effort past Jamaica’s diving goalkeeper.
Guigliano got her third assist of the game on the final tally, sending a beautiful through ball onto Galli for Italy’s fifth score.
The Italians battle Brazil in their final group stage game at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Valenciennes, France.