It was the match of fear. Or happiness. It was one of unbearable suspense until the final whistle and six interminable minutes of added time. Italy had to be patient on Monday against Ukraine before raising their arms to the sky on the final day of the group stage for the next European Championship, which will be played from June 14 to July 14 in Germany.
And as a symbol, it was precisely in Germany, on the pitch of the BayArena in Leverkusen, where the Ukrainians were playing "at home" due to Russia's invasion, that Luciano Spalletti's players clinched their ticket for the Euro thanks to their draw (0-0). European champions in 2021, the "Nazionale" will be able to defend their title in a few months. Ukraine, on the other hand, will have to go through roadblocks.
ITALIA A EURO 2024
All'Italia basta il pari a Leverkusen contro l'Ucraina: gli azzurri si qualificano agli Europei 2024 💪⚽🇮🇹
!#UcrainaItalia #Euro2024Qualifiers #EURO2024 pic.twitter.com/2QCOoxcNum
— Eurosport IT (@Eurosport_IT) November 20, 2023
Two more high-stakes games, two "2nd place finals," were held on Monday. In Group D, the Czech Republic, who could have settled for a draw against Moldova to finish ahead of their opponents in the standings, put the game in style by dominating them (3-0).
In Group H, Slovenia, who beat Kazakhstan 2-1, will join Denmark, who have already qualified. The Slovenians hadn't experienced this happiness since Euro 2000...
The last direct ticket to the Euros in Germany will be played on Tuesday evening between Croatia and Wales. The 3rd place finishers of the last World Cup in Qatar must win against Armenia. In the event of a draw, they will have to rely on a slip-up by Wales against Turkey, who have already qualified.