The UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying match between Italy and Ukraine occurred on November 20, 2023, at the BayArena in Leverkusen, Germany.
Naija News reports that the reigning European champions, Italy, secured their spot in Euro 2024 after a goalless draw against Ukraine in Leverkusen. Despite the lack of goals, the match was filled with excitement as Italy’s aggressive attack and Ukraine’s counter-attacking style created numerous opportunities for both sides.
In the game’s dying moments, Ukraine appealed for a penalty, but it was denied despite Bryan Cristante of Italy appearing to make contact with Mykhailo Mudryk’s foot.
This victory is significant for Italy, as they had previously failed to qualify for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
On the other hand, due to the ongoing conflict with Russia, Ukraine had to play their home fixture in Germany. Although they still have a chance to qualify through the playoffs in March 2024, they will face a challenging path.
Italy arrived in Leverkusen knowing they could advance by avoiding defeat, while Ukraine knew that only a victory would be enough.
Luciano Spalletti, who took over as Italy’s coach three months ago after Roberto Mancini’s unexpected departure from the Saudi Arabia national team job, stated on Monday that Italy had a “duty to defend” their title and vowed to continue taking risks against Ukraine.
Mudryk was a lively presence on the left for Ukraine and created several half-chances early on, but his team was let down by poor finishing.
After half an hour, Italy’s dominance of possession began to pay off, with Federico Chiesa sliding a smooth pass across the face of the goal that eluded a desperate Davide Frattesi.
Although Italy continued to attack early in the second half, the increasingly nervous Italians sat back as the game progressed, allowing Ukraine more space up front.
Mudryk remained a constant threat and seemed to have been fouled in the box by Cristante, but the referee dismissed his team’s desperate appeals for a penalty.