AC Milan Women’s defender Stine Hovland will play for Norway in the Algarve Cup, it has been officially confirmed.
The Algarve Cup is a prestigious, 26-year-old tournament that has taken place every single year since 1994. Past winners of the tournament include the USA and Germany.
Italy will also be participating in the tournament after a 12-year absence. Italy has yet to finalize their roster for the tournament, but there’s a good chance that at least four Milan players will be on the squad, given that CT Milena Bertolini (Italy’s coach) has summoned them before.
The players from Milan who will most likely be convened are Linda Tucceri Cimini, Laura Fusetti, Valentina Bergamaschi and of course, Valentina Giacinti.
All four players have featured for Italy for both last summer’s Women’s World Cup, and the recent Euro 2021 qualifiers. Expect them to be summoned again.
The first game for le Azzurre will be against Portugal on March 4th. The game will also be a ‘derby’ of sorts for the Milan players, given that Milan defender, Mónica Mendes, will be suiting up for the Seleção then.
A full schedule for the upcoming tournament can be found here.
UPDATE: All four aforementioned players have been officially called up by the Azzurre.
L’Italia riparte dall’Algarve Cup: dopo l’infortunio rientra Salvai, tornano anche Bonetti e Schroffenegger
➡️ L'articolo: https://t.co/fqsHKw4dDZ
L’esordio il 4 marzo contro le padrone di casa del Portogallo.
— Nazionale Femminile di Calcio (@AzzurreFIGC) February 20, 2020
In other news…
Valentina Giacinti has slowly but surely, found her form again. The Milan forward has now scored a total of nine goals, which means she’s only six goals behind current Serie A capocannoniere, Cristiana Girelli (Juventus).
It marks a stark contrast to the first half of the season, where Valentina often struggled to find the back of the net. This is a positive sign for her and a definite boon for Milan, as they’ll need their captain to be at her best as they try to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Lidija Kuliš, Milan’s Bosnian forward, is slowly but surely, making her way back from injury. She’ll soon be playing for the Rossonere again.
Kuliš is a strong forward with a wealth of experience. Sadly, her career has been plagued by recurring injuries.
Kuliš’ return should bolster the Rossonere squad. It will also give them another option to consider in attack, along with giving the Milan Women much-needed depth on the bench as well.
Lidija was also supposed to make her return in the match against Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia two weeks ago. While she didn’t recover in time to play the first leg of the tie, she’ll most likely be deployed for the second game in Firenze on February 26th.
Winning the second leg of the fixture might be an uphill battle, given Fiorentina has an advantage after winning the first leg. The Viola will also be playing the match at home. Kuliš’ return might bolster the Rossonere’s chances, however slender they might be.
Before then, however, Milan will have to take on Fiorentina in the league. They’ll play the Viola on Sunday, February 23rd at 12:30 p.m. CEST (3:30 a.m. PST / 6:30 a.m. EST), before meeting them in the Coppa Italia again, three days later.
Milan will need to win both matches, not only to keep their Coppa Italia hopes alive but more importantly, to keep their Champions League dreams alive as well.