Euro 2024: Italy qualifies after anguish

Traveling to Leverkusen to face Ukraine, Italy had to avoid defeat to qualify directly for Euro 2024. A successful operation for the Squadra Azzurra who will defend their title.

Italy doesn’t like play-offs, and this Monday evening, the whole country held its breath during the last match of Pool C of qualifying for Euro 2024 in Germany. Against Ukraine, the Squadra Azzurra had to avoid the disaster scenario, namely a defeat which would have pushed Luciano Spalletti’s team to third place in their group and therefore into a still very complicated play-off. Despite numerous chances, Italy never managed to find the crack in the Ukrainian defense, and remained under threat of a goal, even if Donnarumma stood out on one or two attempts.

The final minutes were stifling, with Ukraine throwing all their strength into scoring the goal which meant direct qualification. A chill ran through the stadium when in added time a Ukrainian player collapsed in the Italian area, but the referee wisely decided not to call a penalty (90th + 3). With this draw, Italy is tied on points, but ahead of Ukraine, and therefore qualifies directly for Euro 2024, but with the high probability of finding itself in pot 4 during the draw scheduled for Saturday December 2 in Hamburg.

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