Euro 2024 confirmed by reigning champions Italy
Paris, 21 November 2023 (BASS/AFP): Finally, the current champion Italy confirmed the final stage of the Euro 2024 tournament. They drew with Ukraine on Monday in a nerve-wreckingly competitive match. The Azzurri got the ticket to Germany as a result of the draw in the last match of the group stage. The Czech Republic and Slovenia confirmed the finals of the Euros on the same day.
Italy needed a draw against Ukraine in the qualifying match held in Leverkusen, Germany yesterday to ensure a place in the Euro finals. However, if they lost that match of Group C, they would be in trouble. Had to wait for the playoffs.
Playoff defeats were one of the reasons Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. That is why Italy was desperate to avoid such a situation. However, in 2021, they won the European Championship title.
In the beginning, however, panic spread in the Italian camp. At this time, Ukrainian star Georgi Sudakov took a great shot at their goal post. However, Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma returned the ball with great skill by lowering his hands.
However, Luciano Spalletti’s men stymied the Ukrainian defense in the return attack. This time goalkeeper Anatoly Trubin kept the war-torn team safe. He parried two attacks from Niccolò Barella and David Pratesi just before the 30-minute mark of the match.
After a break, Ukraine attacked again. In the 65th minute of the match, an attempt by Maikhailo Mudrik was thwarted by Azzurri goalkeeper Donnarumma. In the last minute of the match, when the Ukrainian winger tried to make another attack, he was thrown in the D box by Brian Cristanonte. However, the duty referee did not give any penalty in this phase. As a result, the match ended in a goalless draw.
At the end of this match both Italy and Ukraine have collected 14 points. But Italy beat the Ukrainians 2-1 in the match held in Milan last September. As a result Spalletti’s disciples went head to head.
“We are very happy,” Donnarumma said after the match. Because we have to face some challenges. Now we have got the clearance from Germany. I will go there to win the title as my current champion.’
Even if they failed in today’s match, Italy had a chance to go to Germany. In that case, the team had to play the playoffs next June.
Meanwhile, in the post-match press conference, when asked about the late penalty application in the last minute incident, Ukrainian coach Serhii Rebrov told reporters, “In my eyes, it was a penalty.” But I wasn’t there at that moment. So I vented my emotions.’
In Monday’s other qualifiers, the Czech Republic beat Moldova 3-0 and Slovenia beat Kazakhstan 2-1 to book their place in Germany.