Status: 20.11.2023, 22:50 p.m.
Luciano Spalletti, coach of Italy, sings the national anthem of Italy. © Luca Bruno/AP/dpa
The defending champions are at the European Championships in Germany: Italy book their ticket to the EURO with the typical result, but the match against Ukraine is always in jeopardy.
Leverkusen - Defending champions Italy have booked their ticket to next summer's European Football Championship in Germany with some trembling, but without detention. The Italians picked up the one point they needed to secure second place behind group winners England in a 0-0 draw at the end of the qualifying group against the Ukrainians, who are level on points. Despite the result, the match at Leverkusen's BayArena was not a typical Italy game, but a racy duel with many scoring chances on both sides. The Ukrainians have another chance to qualify for their fourth consecutive European Championship in the playoffs in March.
The match 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 statement for peace before kick-off when they clapped their hands during 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 gratitude with the message "We thank Germany for its hospitality" on numerous advertising boards.
A point would have been enough for the Italians, but they started actively and offensively. And the Ukrainians also had their chances again and again. The fact that the first half remained goalless didn't really fit in with the course of the game. Which didn't change after the change. Italy were superior, but both had chances and the game threatened to tip over at any time. The Italians were really lucky in the third minute of stoppage time when there was no penalty after a tackle by Francesco Acerbi on Michailo Mudrik in the penalty area. Dpa