- Italy qualified for the 2024 European Championships after a draw on Monday
- The tournament’s reigning champions were held to a 0-0 stalemate with Ukraine
- Everton players will be fed up with the owners – listen to It’s All Kicking Off
Italy secured qualification for the 2024 Euros after in controversial fashion after their 0-0 draw with Group C rivals Ukraine.
The tournament’s reigning champions, after their success at Euro 2020, place in Germany was ensured after their stalemate on Monday night.
With England having already qualified for the Euros, the final place in Group C was available for either Italy or Ukraine to claim.
They went into the fixture on the same points, 13, but the Italians boasted a better goal difference – meaning their 0-0 draw did little to affect the group standings.
Neither side was able to make a breakthrough on the night however the hosts will feel hard done by after they were denied a late spot-kick in controversial fashion.
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Chelsea star Mykhailo Mudryk and his Ukraine team-mates felt he should have been awarded a penalty in the final moments after being brought down inside the box.
Italy defender Bryan Cristante looked as though he swiped at the winger’s legs and brought him down inside the penalty area – though the referee waved play on.
Ukraine players and staff vented their frustrations and astonishment at the decision but it fell on deaf ears as the officials suggested there was no further doing.
The incident comes just days after UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said it would be a ‘disaster’ if Italy faily to qualify for Euro 2024 – which was lamented by Ukraine head coach Serhiy Rebrov.
Ceferin said: ‘Italy must qualify for Euro 2024, otherwise it will be a disaster, the Italian national team is too important, but I think it will beat Ukraine.’
Ceferin’s comments sparked outrage in the Ukrainian footballing community but Rebrov insisted that his players would use it as motivation for the game.
The former Dynamo Kyiv, Tottenham and West Ham forward insisted: ‘We’re not interested in what he [Čeferin] has to say, it’s not our job to focus on such comments.
‘But all that they can really do is have an impact on my players to make them more angry and motivated to qualify, I think we have a good chance.
‘It is one thing to play against North Macedonia or Malta, with respect, but when we play England or Italy, it is different.
‘This is a game when we have to show our face. We made lots of mistakes in Italy, but we understand our responsibility in this game and what we have to do.’
More to follow…