Cristiana Girelli scored a hat-trick and substitute Aurora Galli struck twice as Italy thrashed Jamaica in Reims to qualify for the last 16.
Back in the tournament after a 20-year absence, the Azzurre top Group C with six points ahead of Brazil and Australia who have three. Jamaica have yet to earn a point.
Milena Bertolini, the Italy coach, said: “Emotions I’m feeling are of joy, sheer joy. We wanted to move on in the group phase, and to do this after two matches is a great satisfaction for us. The girls were awesome, to stay with their feet well planted on the ground, considering all of the attention and coverage we’re getting back home.
“These women are a very close-knit group and have reached a high level of maturity.”
Girelli opened the scoring with a retaken, VAR-awarded penalty before netting again either side of the interval. Galli rounded off the victory with two goals after coming on midway through the second half. Italy equalled their best World Cup result following a 5-0 win over Chinese Taipei in 1991.
Player of the match, Girelli, said: “I have a hard time believing that I’ve scored three goals in a World Cup game; it’s extraordinary. 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.”
Three days after the United States thrashed Thailand 13-0, the Stade Auguste Delaune crowd were treated to more champagne football. Italy went ahead after 12 minutes when Girelli converted a penalty on her second attempt, having had to re-take her spot kick after keeper Sydney Schneider had stepped off her line.
The penalty was awarded following a VAR review after Allyson Swaby brought down Barbara Bonansea.
Girelli doubled the tally in the 25th by latching on to a corner before securing her hat-trick shortly after the restart, jumping higher than Schneider to head home.
Galli added the fourth shortly after coming on for Valentina Bergamaschi with a thunderous 25-metre strike in the 71st. Ten minutes later, she rounded Schneider before tapping the ball home to wrap up an impressive win. Italy next play Brazil with Jamaica facing Australia.
Hue Menzies, the Jamaica coach, was determined to stay upbeat however, promising this was just the start: “This is bigger than the World Cup. This is just part of the journey. This is a learning experience. If we keep these players together, it will be different. When you come here, you see excellence, and that’s what we have to be.
“I thought our players went after it. They didn’t give up. It’s the little things that we need to be constantly dealing with, and we just haven’t dealt with them on a regular basis. The more and more we play this level of games, the more we will stay switched on.”
Meanwhile, veteran US forward Carli Lloyd defended her World Cup team-mates yesterday after widespread criticism of their exuberant goal celebrations during the 13-0 trouncing of Thailand.
Lloyd herself earned some credit for consoling luckless Thai goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying and accompanying her off the field after the record-breaking match in Reims on Tuesday.
“You’ve got to feel for a goalkeeper letting in 13 goals,” Lloyd said. “If you don’t, then I don’t think you have much of a heart.”
Jamaica: Schneider, Campbell, Plummer, Allyson Swaby (Sweatman, 45), Blackwood, Adamolekun (Silver, 76), Solaun, Chantelle Swaby, Asher, Shaw, Grey (Brown, 66).
Subs not used: McClure, Hudson-Marks, Shim, Cameron, Bond-Flasza, Carter, Patterson, Matthews, Jamieson.
Booked: Schneider, Shaw.
Italy: Giuliani, Guagni (Boattin, 57), Gama, Linari, Bartoli, Bergamaschi (Galli, 65), Giugliano, Cernoia, Sabatino, Girelli (Giacinti, 72), Bonansea.
Subs: Marchitelli, Rosucci, Parisi, Tarenzi, Serturini, Fusetti, Mauro, Tucceri, Pipitone.
Referee: Anna-Marie Keighley (New Zealand).