No new disgrace: defending champion Italy qualifies for the European Championship, Ukraine angry about unreferred penalty | Football


A long-drawn-out ploy – defending champion Italy may go to the European Championship after all. The Azzurri missed a lot of chances, which almost cost them even more after the break. Ukraine, which was disappointed with a penalty that was not called, will play the play-offs.

‘Una notte da non fallire’. A night not to fail. The last hurdle towards the European Championship had to be taken by Italy, otherwise it would have been condemned to the jump-offs in March. Ukraine formed ‘l’ultimo ostacolo’ – the last obstacle towards Germany. Serhij Rebrov’s yellow-blue team was next to La Squadra Azzurri in the rankings – in the event of a draw, however, the latter went straight through after the 2-1 for Italy in September.

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“The will to defend our European title is enormous,” national coach Luciano Spalletti had proclaimed one day before the match on neutral ground in Leverkusen. After two missed World Cups, it is unthinkable that a football country like Italy, as defending champion, would also miss a European Championship. On German soil, of all places, where the Azzurri became world champions in 2006.

Before the break, a new trauma seemed unthinkable. The Italians had chance after chance, but failed to decide the game before half-time. Chiesa, Frattesi and also Di Lorenzo in particular kept the Ukrainians alive, who hardly came close to Donnarumma. It was women and children first in the box for Rebrov’s team.


A completely different Ukraine after the break. From the hour mark, the ‘home team’ took over, with some hot positions in front of the Italian goalkeeper. Under the impetus of a good Dovbyk, Italy was increasingly pushed back. Ukraine came closest to a goal in extra time, when the ref did not see a penalty in a contact between Cristante and Mudryk.

Finally, Italy breathed a sigh of relief. Despite a strong first half, it was still shaky until the last minute. The reigning European Championship winner qualifies directly for the final tournament in Germany. The Ukrainians, in turn, face two jump-off matches on the way to the European Championship. A stunt in Leverkusen seemed to be in the making for a long time, but Ukraine failed to outwit Donnarumma.


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End of second half


Oleksandr Svatok is replaced by Ruslan Malinovskiy


Matteo Politano is replaced by Matteo Darmian


Yukhym Konoplia is replaced by Oleksandr Tymchyk


Oleksandr Zinchenko is replaced by Danylo Sikan


Cutting tension

We are approaching the absolute end of the match and the tension is palpable in Leverkusen. What else can Ukraine do?


Federico Chiesa is replaced by Moise Kean


Viktor Tsyhankov is replaced by Oleksandr Zubkov


Taras Stepanenko is replaced by Oleksandr Pikhalyonok


Yellow card for Yukhym Konoplia


Jorginho is replaced by Bryan Cristante


Nicolò Zaniolo is replaced by Matteo Politano


Second half kicked off

The ball has started rolling again. Will opportunities come soon?


Giacomo Raspadori is replaced by Gianluca Scamacca


Second half kicked off


Frattesi only for goal

Suddenly it’s Italy again. Frattesi runs well and is alone in front of goal, but Trubin keeps him from making it 0-1.


The line judge had it ‘flag’ early

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Kick Barella

A corner kick from Italy ends up on the edge of the sixteen at Barella. The Inter midfielder kicks, but Trubin has a nice parade in his house.


Italy is not under pressure

Another great opportunity for Ukraine. Sudakov kicks from the edge of the box, but Donnarumma saves.

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Tags: disgrace defending champion Italy qualifies European Championship Ukraine angry unreferred penalty Football


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