Italy started with the knife at its throat in Leverkusen. He had to play a direct match against Ukraine – which had to move to Germany due to the war in its country – for a ticket to the European Championship.
The Azzurri missed the World Cup finals in Qatar less than two years ago and, as defending champions, cannot afford a second failure to participate in a major tournament.
Italy clearly battled those flashbacks in the opening phase. But after a lot of shaking and shaking in the first stage, the match gradually improved.
New national coach Luciano Spalletti had already promised the country that it would fall in love with its national football heroes again. But despite his complex football – which showed parts of his reign at Napoli – the Italian could not convince in the zone of truth.
The Italian tactician felt that his team – due to the lack of a goal – began to doubt itself in the end and turned to a more conservative approach. Successfully. Tactical chess didn’t produce any spectacle, but it didn’t produce more goals either.
Although there was a real shock moment for the Italians in the absolute final stage. Brian Cristante simply brought down Modric Mikhail in the big rectangle in the final minute. penalty? No, despite the clear contact between the two, the referee waved the incident away.
A questionable decision with serious consequences: Italy still qualifies for the European Championship, and Ukraine is relegated to the qualifiers.
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