The defending champions are at the European Championships in Germany: Italy booked their ticket to the EURO with the typical result, but the game against Ukraine is always in the balance.
Defending champion Italy has got their ticket to the European Football Championship in Germany next summer with some trepidation, but without any detention.
In a 0-0 draw at the end of the qualifying group against the Ukrainians with the same number of points, the Italians got the one point they needed to secure second place behind group winners England. Despite the result, the game in Leverkusen’s BayArena was not a typical Italy game, but a lively duel with many scoring chances on both sides. The Ukrainians have another chance to take part in their fourth European Championship in a row in the playoffs in March.
Contentious situation shortly before the final whistle
The game took place in Germany because of the Russian war of aggression. The Ukrainians had already played home games in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The Italian players and fans made a sign of peace before kick-off by clapping throughout the Ukrainian anthem. Numerous families who had fled Ukraine were also invited to the game, which was also attended by NRW Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst. The Ukrainian association expressed its thanks with the message “We thank Germany for its hospitality” on numerous advertising hoardings.
A point would have been enough for the Italians, but they started actively and offensively. And the Ukrainians also always had their chances. The fact that the first half remained goalless didn’t really fit with how the game was going. Which didn’t change after the change. Italy were superior, but both had opportunities and the game threatened to tip over at any time. The Italians were really lucky in the third minute of added time when there was no penalty after Francesco Acerbi tackled Michailo Mudrik in the penalty area.
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