Italy secured their place in EURO 2024 by scraping a goalless draw against Ukraine, as Spalletti’s men aim to defend their title.
Italy knew that a single point against Ukraine would be enough to qualify due to their superior head-to-head record, but a victory would have improved their ranking for the draw.
Despite missing key players like Berardi, Bastoni, Scalvini, Retegui, Toloi, and Zaccagni, Italy saw the return of Di Lorenzo after a 5-2 win over North Macedonia. On the Ukraine side of it all, Yarmolenko was absent due to knee surgery.
Italy took the initiative as Federico Chiesa missed from close range after a Zaniolo corner in the opening minutes. Buongiorno, a surprise starter on his second cap, was then booked for a foul on Dovbyk.
Ukraine retaliated soon after but Donnarumma made a crucial one-handed save on Sudakov’s shot, while Trubin had his gloves stung by a Barella scorcher.
Di Lorenzo’s header skimmed the post, and Trubin made a quick save on Frattesi’s shot. Chiesa sent a ball across the six-yard box, narrowly missed by Raspadori, who replaced Chiesa at half-time.
Italy vs Ukraine: The contest lacked on all fronts!
Chiesa’s curler was off target, and another Di Lorenzo header went over. Mykolenko prevented Frattesi from connecting with a smart Scamacca through ball. Ukraine had an unusual chance from a long throw, with Donnarumma blocking Mudryk’s finish at the back post.
Donnarumma was again alert, aided by Buongiorno, after a smart Dovbyk back-heel flick. Mudryk scuffed a shot wide, and Scamacca couldn’t capitalize on Chiesa’s pull-back from six yards.
An exhausted Chiesa was substituted for Kean. Moise Kean had his moments later in the match but his shot was blocked. In stoppage time, Italy thought they were in trouble with a potential penalty scare. Chelsea winger Mudryk went down under Cristante’s challenge, but both the referee and VAR surprisingly allowed play to continue.
Italy managed to get the point they wanted from the Ukraine match, barely scraping into the Euros, where Spalletti’s men will hope to show much stronger performances to defend their championship title.