Reigning European champion, Italy will have waited until the last moments of the qualifying phase to validate its ticket for Euro 2024, thanks to its draw against Ukraine (0-0) which allows it to breathe and to avoid the stress of a trap dam.
A draw was enough for the Italians on Monday November 20 to qualify directly for Euro 2024 (from June 14 to July 14 in Germany), while the Ukrainians absolutely needed a victory. With this 0-0, Italy took second place in its group with 14 points, six less than England (20), which was hung in North Macedonia (1-1).
“We are super happy: after all the difficulties we encountered, we too will be in Germany and we are going there as reigning European champions to win, to bring something home”declared Gianluigi Donnarumma on the microphone of the Rai 1 television channel.
“It was done through suffering but this group showed all its strength”added the goalkeeper of the Italian selection and PSG.
Italy missed the 2018 World Cups in Russia and 2022 in Qatar after play-off defeats against Sweden and North Macedonia.
A late qualification
Unlike Italy, the leading nations of the European continent such as England, France, Portugal and Spain had already validated their ticket for Germany a long time ago and fought over the last two days for a place of seeded for the draw on December 2 in Hamburg.
Monday evening, in the BayArena in Leverkusen where the supporters of the two selections gave their voice, the Italians took control of the match after a balanced first quarter of an hour punctuated by a great Ukrainian opportunity by Georgiy Sudakov who obliged Donnarumma on parade (14e).
Despite the increasing pressure on Anatoliy Trubin’s goal, Donnarumma’s teammates were unable to take cover. The powerful strike of Nicolo Barella (16e) was repelled by Trubin, and the Ukrainian goalkeeper won his duel with Davide Frattesi (29e), double scorer in the first leg. Enough to worry Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon, now head of the Nazionale delegation, in the stands.
Because by failing to realize its domination, Italy scared itself, like Donnarumma’s parade at the feet of Mykhailo Mudryk (65e).
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Forced to score, Ukraine showed more pressure in the last twenty minutes, against the Italians who increased their inaccuracies and ball losses. A final cold sweat broke down the backs of the Transalpines in added time, when Mudryk collapsed in the area, but the referee did not whistle a penalty for Ukraine.
As a result of this chaotic qualification process (draw in North Macedonia and against Ukraine, double defeat against England), the Transalpines risk finding themselves in the bottom hat during the draw for Euro 2024.
For its part, Ukraine’s performance in this qualifying phase, including a draw against England (1-1), was insufficient, particularly against Italy (2-1 defeat in September in Milan). , draw Monday in Leverkusen).
The men of Serhiy Rebrov, who arrived as coach in June 2023, will have to go through the play-offs in four months with two matches to win (a semi-final and a final) to qualify for their fourth European Championship after 2012, 2016 and 2021. Ukraine’s opponents will be known on Tuesday after the final qualifying matches.
The World with AFP