Ukraine-Italy 0-0, Spalletti’s Azzurri qualified for Euro 2024

Italy draws 0-0 against Ukraine in Leverkusen today 20 November 2023 and qualifies for the final phase of Euro 2024. Coach Luciano Spalletti’s national team finishes in second place in Group C with 14 points and achieves direct qualification: the same haul for Ukraine who, however, is third in the table led by England and will have to seek promotion in the playoffs. The Euro 2024 group draw is scheduled for December 2 in Hamburg.

The match

It starts with a frenetic pace and head turns. Italy creates a potential opportunity with Dimarco’s escape and Chiesa’s support, Raspadori’s shot is blocked by the defense. The first goalkeeper involved is Donnarumma, who stretches out and blocks Tsygankov’s left-footed shot in the 5th minute. In the 7th minute the Azzurri have a chance on a corner. Zaniolo, perhaps when the ball has crossed the back line, returns to the center for Chiesa who misses the target from 7 meters.

Pressure from Ukraine increases. Mudryk on the left wing is a constant threat. In the middle, Sudakov’s percussion hurts as he shoots from 20 meters in the 14th minute: Donnarumma is good at deflecting the shot. Italy comes out of the corner with a shot from Barella, who calls Trubin in the first real intervention of the evening. The Ukraine goalkeeper is sensational in the 29th minute. Chiesa breaks and passes for Frattesi, who enters the area and crosses his left: the Ukrainian goalkeeper closes the target on exit and saves. In the 32nd minute, another strike from the Juventus attacker who reaches the back and puts a ball into the net, Raspadori launches himself into a slide but is a fraction of a second late. After a long, blue-tinted phase, Ukraine tried to get its head out of its shell before the break: the bursts of Sudakov and Mudryk produced no real chances.

Spalletti’s national team begins the second half with Scamacca replacing Raspadori and with an aggressive attitude. The game is only played in Ukraine’s half of the pitch, even if Trubin doesn’t touch the ball. Italy relies on the initiatives of Chiesa, who does not find great collaboration from his department colleagues. Ukraine tries to advance the range of action and becomes very dangerous in the 64th minute. The Italian defense sleeps on a long throw-in, Mudryk is free to kick and Donnarumma has to close with a providential exit.

Italy is suffering, Ukraine is pressing vehemently but with little clarity. The national team’s defense was in a state of apnea for a couple of scrums, but Donnarumma did not have to make any significant interventions in the hottest phase of the second half. In the 93rd minute, thrill in the blue area. Cristante hits Mudryk, the referee Gil Manzano doesn’t blow the whistle and the VAR ignores the episode which would be suspicious at the very least: it ends 0-0, Italy promoted.

Spalletti: “Now comes the best part”

“Now comes the best part,” says Spalletti at the end of the evening. “It wasn’t easy and nothing in football in general was a given. Today we played a good game. In the first half we had many situations and opportunities to secure the result. Then the game became dirtier and more physical “Ukraine showed that they are an equipped team that gave us a hard time”, he adds.

By Editor

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