Reigning champions Italy secured their ticket for Euro 2024 on Monday after holding on for a nervy goalless draw in opposition to Ukraine of their last qualifier, whereas the Czech Republic and Slovenia additionally clinched locations at subsequent 12 months’s finals.
Italy solely wanted the attract a recreation performed in Leverkusen, Germany, with a view to qualify however a defeat in opposition to their direct rivals in Group C would have left their destiny to be determined in play-offs subsequent March.
That was a situation they desperately wished to keep away from following the trauma of failing to qualify for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups after shedding in play-offs, both facet of successful the final European Championship in 2021.
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The excessive stakes made it a tense event and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma needed to produce a agency hand low all the way down to hold out an early Georgiy Sudakov strike.
Nevertheless, Luciano Spalletti’s facet threatened on the different finish with Ukraine ‘keeper Anatoliy Trubin saving from Nicolo Barella and racing out to disclaim Davide Frattesi earlier than the half-hour mark.
Donnarumma blocked a Mykhailo Mudryk try within the sixty fifth minute and there was a flashpoint in stoppage time when the Ukraine winger went down within the Italy field underneath a Bryan Cristante problem, however no penalty was given.
The 2 nations end degree on 14 factors behind England in Group C, however Italy have the higher head-to-head report having gained 2-1 in Milan in September.
“We’re delighted. After all of the difficulties we now have had, we might be in Germany and we might be going there as reigning champions and going there to win,” Donnarumma advised broadcaster Rai 1.
Ukraine should subsequently negotiate the play-offs if they’re to return to Germany for the event subsequent June.
Requested in regards to the late penalty name, Ukraine coach Serhiy Rebrov advised the post-match press convention: “From my standpoint that was a penalty, however once more I used to be not there and it’s solely about my feelings.”
England held in North Macedonia
England had already certified earlier than their journey to Skopje to play North Macedonia, once they wanted a second-half personal objective to earn a 1-1 draw and end their marketing campaign undefeated.
Enis Bardhi opened the scoring for North Macedonia 4 minutes earlier than half-time, following as much as internet after his penalty was saved by Jordan Pickford.
The spot-kick was given after a VAR verify confirmed that Manchester Metropolis’s Rico Lewis, on his debut, had caught Bojan Miovski within the space.
England drew degree simply earlier than the hour mark, and moments after Harry Kane was despatched on from the bench, as Jani Atanasov diverted a Phil Foden nook into his personal internet.
The Czech Republic solely wanted a draw at dwelling to Moldova in Olomouc to safe their place at an eighth consecutive Euro finals, and the end result was by no means unsure as they eased to a 3-0 victory.
David Doudera swept within the opener and Moldova had Vladislav Baboglo despatched off early within the second half earlier than late targets by Tomas Chory and captain Tomas Soucek secured victory.
Czech coach quits
They end second in Group E behind Albania — who drew 0-0 with the Faroe Islands on Monday — however their night was overshadowed by coach Jaroslav Silhavy saying his resignation instantly after the sport.
“Despite the fact that we’re glad now, we had already determined earlier than the sport to not proceed,” the 62-year-old coach advised Czech tv.
His departure comes after three gamers, together with West Ham United defender Vladimir Coufal, had been despatched dwelling from the squad for having spent Saturday evening at a nightclub.
Slovenia will seem on the Euro for the primary time since 2000 after their 2-1 win at dwelling to Kazakhstan in Ljubljana clinched second place behind Denmark in Group H.
Benjamin Verbic netted Slovenia’s late winner after Ramazan Orazov had netted for Kazakhstan to cancel out Benjamin Sesko’s penalty opener.
Kazakhstan would have certified with a win however will as a substitute now go into the play-offs as their hopes of showing at first main event stay alive.
Denmark misplaced 2-0 in Northern Eire, with Isaac Worth and Dion Charles scoring, whereas Finland — who might be within the play-offs — gained 2-1 away to minnows San Marino.
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