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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Defending champ Italy qualifies for Euro 2024 after dramatic draw with Ukraine

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) — Italy will defend its European Championship title next year in Germany after a 0-0 draw with Ukraine on Monday was enough to secure its place.

The scoreless result came as something of a surprise after both teams created plenty of chances. Italy stayed devoted to coach Luciano Spalletti’s all-action attacking style despite needing only to avoid defeat.

Federico Chiesa, Giovanni di Lorenzo and Davide Frattesi all missed excellent chances in the first half for Italy, for which goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma charged down a shot from Mykhailo Mudryk to stop Ukraine from taking the lead after his own misjudgment off a long throw gave Mudryk the chance.

Ukraine was angered by a decision not to give a penalty in stoppage time for what seemed like a trip on Mudryk by Bryan Cristante.

The game was technically a home fixture for Ukraine but was played at Bayer Leverkusen’s stadium in Germany because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine could still qualify for Euro 2024 via the playoffs.

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