England is "the most important" place for women's football, according to new London City Lionesses coach Carolina Morace.

After time out from the game following a short stint at Lazio, former Italy, Milan and Canada coach Morace joined London City in July.

The Lionesses play in the Women's Championship, the second tier of women's football in England.

And though London City compete in the second tier, Morace believes England is the place to be when it comes to the women's game.

"Women's football, the best women's football, the most important women's football is here is in England," Morace told Stats Perform.

"The project that they did to develop women's football is amazing and was global and you can see the result [England] won the European Championship and they [finished] second in the World Cup.

"That was the first motivation and why I want to be here."

Morace scored over 100 goals in her international career, and coached the Italian national team for five years, but she believes there are notable differences now between the game in England and her homeland.

"I think that here the level is higher than in Italy, the players are more ready to play," she said.

"Also, physically, all of them are of some strength. In Italy, you have to build up the player instead. I think that is the culture in England, also because they used to playing the sport at school, that is something that [in Italy], we don't do.

"That made them become more alert, they want to learn and you can see that immediately. They ask many, many questions, much more than Italian players."

London City are an entirely independent professional women's club, after their split from Millwall in 2019.

"I think that to be the only independent club is something that is special, it is a young club and the ambition is very high," Morace added.

"That is also one of the motivators that caused me to choose this team, and it would be amazing to achieve something.

"We will try, we want to try, and the players are working hard to achieve something important.

"We want to do our best and, of course, the aim is to win something. We recruited some very good players, the young players that we have are the players that we chose."

Pep Guardiola or Roberto De Zerbi would struggle to succeed with Italy's women's team, given the country's "embarrassing" attitude towards the women's game. 

That is the view of former Azzurre coach Carolina Morace, who has called for the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) to enact a "serious project" after their disappointing World Cup campaign.

Italy slumped to an early exit in Australia and New Zealand, finishing third in Group G following a dramatic loss to South Africa in their third match, with the Banyana Banyana advancing in second.

While Italy have long been a powerhouse in the men's game, winning four World Cups and two European Championships, the women's team have never clinched a major title.

They are yet to progress beyond the quarter-finals of a World Cup, failing to qualify for four of the last six editions, and have struggled at the Euros since finishing as runners-up during Morace's playing career in 1993 and 1997.

Asked about Italy's lack of success, Morace told Stats Perform: "People have always been curious. I remember my generation winning against Spain, against England, against France. 

"In fact, my generation has been runners-up in Europe twice. From there the other countries started. Our country didn't start with the projects because nobody believed in women's football. 

"Unfortunately, today there are still the same bosses as when I played and if they weren't in favour of women's football then, they still remain against it. 

"Even today, some Italian executives talk about a smaller field, bigger goals. These things are embarrassing because it means they have never seen a women's match. 

"Unfortunately in Italy, women's football is still seen as a waste of money rather than a resource. England is a country that has shown women's football can be a resource if you make the right projects and the right investments. You have to start planning." 

Reflecting on Italy's showing at the World Cup, Morace added: "I believe that ours was a failed World Cup in terms of the game.

"Surely even if Guardiola or De Zerbi were to coach the women's national team, the results would be the same. We need to broaden the base. The Federation must start a serious project. 

"The first problem is that you can't compete with 35,000 players against over 100,000 players in Spain, Germany, France, England. 

"It's impossible for me to criticise the players and the coach. In my opinion, it's not fair. What I'm sorry about in this World Cup is that no one has taken responsibility for what happened." 

Milena Bertolini left her role as Italy coach after the World Cup, and a successor is yet to be appointed ahead of September's Women's Nations League meetings with Switzerland and Sweden, the latter of whom took bronze in Australia and New Zealand.

Morace is concerned by the situation, particularly given suggestions the FIGC may appoint a male coach without experience in women's football. 

"In September we have some important matches in an important group, we have to play against Sweden and against Switzerland and we don't have a coach yet," Morace added.

"I have now heard that the Federation wants a man. Very good, there are some competent men who have been in our world for many years and who have done well, but I haven't heard the names of these coaches yet. 

"They have names of people who have never won a women's match, who don't know what women's football is. 

"We saw the Saudi Arabia men's coach who now coaches France [Herve Renard] and he couldn't possibly do what he thought he could, because it's not that simple when you don't know the environment."

Sarina Wiegman's success with England shows female coaches are deserving of further opportunities, says former Italy boss Carolina Morace.

Wiegman led the Lionesses to their first major tournament triumph at Euro 2022 before overseeing this year's run to the World Cup final in Australia and New Zealand, where they were beaten 1-0 by Spain.

She has earned plenty of plaudits since succeeding Phil Neville in the role in 2021, only losing two of her 39 matches at the helm (30 wins, seven draws) and overseeing a positive World Cup campaign despite injuries to key players including Leah Williamson and Beth Mead.

While the 2023 World Cup featured 32 teams for the first time, Wiegman was one of just 12 female head coaches present at the tournament. 

Morace wants to see football associations judge potential bosses on their competence rather than their gender, acknowledging the dominance of men at governing bodies is an issue.

Asked about the number of promising female coaches in the game, Morace told Stats Perform: "I'll answer you one way. Sarina Weigman inherited the [England] team from Phil Neville with the same players who had unfortunately achieved nothing under Phil Neville. 

"With her, they have reached the maximum. There are good, excellent female coaches and excellent male coaches. 

"You need to have the intellectual honesty to choose based on competence, to choose coaches who have not always been sent away from men's teams and who don't know the world of women's football. It is obvious they will also fail in women's football.

"I believe there are many good coaches who must be valued. Unfortunately, it is always men who choose, for whom it takes a little bit of effort [to recruit women]."

Morace is one of few female coaches with notable experience in the men's game, having led Italian third-tier outfit Viterbese at the start of her coaching career in 1999 – albeit for just two games.

She felt a higher turnover of coaches in the men's game made players more receptive to her methods, adding: "Coaching men is easier. When you coach a men's team, you coach boys who come from an early age and played in all the youth teams and have changed a lot of coaches. 

"You find them more ready [for change] than a girl who may have had two coaches or three coaches in her career.

"Perhaps today we can say that the little girls start from the same point as the boys. Before, it wasn't like that."

While Morace does not have an issue with male coaches working in women's football, she maintains the best candidates must be given chances regardless of their gender.

"It is one thing is to coach a national team," she said. "When you arrive in the national team, you have the World Cup, the Olympics which absolutely have another value [in the women's game]. 

"But now the men who are unable to enter the men's game look to the women, but they do it after seeing the stadiums full at the World Cup, it becomes very desired by them too. 

"Competence is much more important. I coached the Italian national team, the Canadian national team. For me, it was much more important than coaching the professional men's team in the third division."

The United States fell short tactically at the Women's World Cup and must now look to their European rivals for inspiration.

That is the view of former Italy striker and head coach Carolina Morace, who believes the USA's previous dominance of the women's game owed largely to their players' physical attributes.

The four-time winners recorded their worst-ever World Cup performance in Australia and New Zealand, losing to Sweden in a last-16 penalty shoot-out after narrowly avoiding a humiliating group-stage elimination in a goalless draw with Portugal.

Vlatko Andonovski resigned as head coach in the aftermath of their exit, with the USA having failed to score in back-to-back World Cup games for the first time in the tournament's history. 

Morace, who scored over 100 goals for Italy before coaching Le Azzurre between 2000 and 2005, believes the USA paid the price for falling behind their more astute rivals.

"They dominated the scene for years because physically the players were stronger, more trained than all the others," Morace told Stats Perform. "[Now] all the teams have physically grown. 

"They had to improve tactically. I coached Canada for a couple of years [between 2009 and 2011]. European football does not arrive there. 

"The innovations are in Europe, so the innovations that have been in Europe have not been [happening] in America. I don't know. 

"I am referring to occupying the empty spaces rather than passing between the lines, wanting to dominate the game, starting from the goalkeeper and pressing offensively. These are things they aren't used to doing, because it's a different kind of football there.

"In Australia and New Zealand, rugby is the national sport, so innovations come from there. Football is from Europe and innovations certainly come from here. 

"Maybe they thought that on a physical level they could still make up for the gaps they may have tactically, and it wasn't like this."

The USA scored just four times from 9.14 expected goals (xG) in their four games at the tournament, with star striker Alex Morgan failing to net from 17 attempts totalling 2.96 xG.

The World Cup – eventually won by Spain following Olga Carmona's final strike against England – was defined by upsets, with Germany and Brazil suffering group-stage eliminations.

Jamaica, South Africa, Morocco and Colombia earned plaudits by reaching the knockout stages, and Morace believes a sense of unpredictability contributed to the tournament's success. 

"It was an absolutely special World Cup because teams like Germany, the United States and Brazil immediately left the competition. It is clear that this has shocked everyone," she said.

"This certainly means that, on one hand, some teams have grown a lot, but it also means that teams like the USA or Germany or Brazil had to do better. 

"It was a very, very special World Cup. In the end, however, the final was played between the two best teams. Spain and England were the two teams absolutely on a tactical level and also on a technical level. They expressed the best football. 

"I wouldn't say that from a tactical point of view this was the best World Cup ever, because we saw that many teams had little possession, especially teams like South Africa, like Nigeria.

"The big teams probably didn't expect to find teams that played a different kind of football, more physical and more vertical. Then, in the end, the World Cup was won by the team that had the most possession in the whole championship."

Victors Spain managed more build-up attacks (23) than any other team at the World Cup, ahead of runners-up England (20). Meanwhile, the Lionesses were the only side to better Spain's 92 sequences of 10 or more passes, recording 100.

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