Italy failed to qualify for last year's Men's World Cup in Russia, a devastating blow to a nation that lives and breathes football.
But the Italian women are doing brilliantly at this year's Women's World Cup in France, making history Friday by reaching the knockout phase for the first time since 1991 after Cristiana Girelli's hat-trick inspired a 5-0 victory against Jamaica.
England also advanced, edging a determined Argentina 1-0 to move to a perfect six points.
If picking up a win against one of the favorites, Australia, in its first World Cup game wasn't enough, Italy has already advanced from its Group C cohort, which also includes traditional powerhouse Brazil.
England advanced into the knockout stage of the Women's World Cup thanks to a 1-0 victory Friday over Argentina, with Jodie Taylor's second-half goal enough to secure the points.
It was mostly attack against defense in Le Havre, France. England dominated possession and territory, but Argentina was resolute, well-structured and hard to break down. Goalkeeper Vanina Correa put in a remarkable performance to save a first-half penalty from England's Nikita Parris and stood firm to other clear chances until Taylor broke the deadlock in the 61st minute.
England was at times frustrated against Argentina and on occasion lost focus, but it was a case of job done. And the players even got a smile from manager Phil Neville.
2 minutes added time. Two minutes separate a roaring Dutch victory and a confirmation of their Round-of-16 qualification. I can only imagine the orange wave that is going to seep through the streets of Valenciennes. What an evening for these women and their fans.
It now looks like Netherlands will battle it out with Canada for the top spot in Group E, who faces New Zealand later tonight. Meanwhile Cameroon could still qualify and it played well today, with plenty of positives coming from its performance.
Just as the uproar over its 13-0 pounding of Thailand was quieting down, the United States women's soccer team booked its ticket to the World Cup's round of 16 with a 3-0 victory over Chile in Paris on Sunday.
Criticized for both running up the score against Thailand and celebrating each of its record-breaking 13 goals, the Americans have dismissed the scrutiny and focused only on their bid to win a fourth World Cup title.
Veteran Carli Lloyd seemingly poked fun at the criticism by politely, and somewhat sarcastically, clapping towards the sideline after scoring the opening goal in the 11th minute.
Although the U.S. did not hesitate to celebrate its three goals on Sunday, the American players did not engage in any sideline festivities with their reserves, as they did during the game against Thailand.