Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The Euro 2024 finals are Spalletti’s biggest challenges with the Italian national team


Berlin – Italy are aiming for a draw with second-placed Ukraine in Group C to ensure their place in the European Football Cup finals in Germany and avoid a play-off spot. Leverkusen, Germany in the final round of qualifying.

Entering the last two rounds in third place, the Italian side have once again reached an unenviable position, three points behind Ukraine and having played a match ahead of them. They won the first test with a 5-2 win over North Macedonia Mudic on Friday, taking second place from Ukraine after a 2-1 win at home on September 12. Past.

With the finals scheduled for June 14 to July 14, 2024, Italy have their fate in their own hands with England needing only a draw to catch runners-up and group leaders. Italy coach Luciano Spalletti and his men have vowed to continue taking risks despite the risk of missing out on another major tournament. Juventus winger Federico Chiesa, who scored twice against North Macedonia, said: “We are very positive under Spalletti. We take some risks in defense and we want to play with this mentality against Ukraine.”

The Euro 2020 champions, whose matches were held in 2021 due to the coronavirus, failed to qualify for the World Cup in the last two editions in Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, and the war-torn Eastern European nation will have lost to Ukraine. To qualify with Russia, Italy will be forced to play in a play-off for a chance to retain their title in 2024.

◙ Italy hold their fate in their own hands as they only need a draw to catch England

Italy has an advantage over Ukraine in head-to-head matches between them, as it has beaten its rival in the last six official matches between them, conceding just three goals and scoring 14 goals. Italy are well aware that a clean sheet will earn them a ticket to Germany, but Spalletti’s attack-minded men have vowed not to back down.

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Despite a good result against North Macedonia, the European champions suffered. Italy took a 3-0 lead in the first half before conceding two goals in the second half through Gianni Atanasov, allowing North Macedonia to return to the contest. The attacking approach is seen as a model for Spalletti, who masterminded Napoli’s fearsome attacking machine last season as they won the Italian league title for the first time since the days of its legendary Argentine, Diego Armando Maradona.

Winger Ceesa was dangerous throughout the match and scored two goals in the first half. He was unconcerned about his country’s defensive performance, saying “the important thing is that we won”. He added: “Under Spalletti’s leadership we are more positive, which means we take more risks in defence. We have shown that we want to control the competition and deserve to win.” Chiesa praised Spalletti’s attacking style, saying conceding goals was “part of the beauty of attacking football”.

Italy’s volatility in the second half did not worry Spalletti after Friday’s match, and he said, “Italy were excellent both in character and quality of play. I expected us to struggle but we came back and scored. In addition to the two goals we scored, we had many chances.” Spalletti described the match against Ukraine as a “final” and added, “Whoever gets the best of the match will go to the European Cup.” We need an Italian team with a strong character and players who know how to face these situations.

Ukraine will not be an easy target for the Italians, whose impressive campaign in the qualifiers saw all of their matches played outside the rules as they could not play on home soil. Midfielder Georgi Sudakov said, “Let’s fight for the win and do our best. Our dream is to beat Italy and qualify for the final.” Despite playing some 2,000 kilometers away from Kiev, Ukraine are likely to enjoy a home atmosphere in Leverkusen. In turn, Czechia need a draw to finish second in Group Five when they face Moldova, their only rivals for the spot.

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The Czech Republic are second with 12 points, two points ahead of Moldova, who are claiming victory in the finals for the first time in their history. Albania drew 1-1 with hosts Moldova on Friday to book their place in the group and reach the finals for the second time in their history after 2016 in France.

Slovenia’s situation is no different from Italy and the Czech Republic, as a draw with hosts Kazakhstan was enough to clinch the second card in Group H after Denmark booked the first card. Slovenia has 19 points, compared to Kazakhstan’s 18, and claims victory to qualify for the first time in its history. Kazakhstan have a chance to enter the play-offs if they stumble against Slovenia. In the same group, Northern Ireland play Denmark and San Marino play Finland, which will go into the playoffs.

Camelia Garner
Camelia Garner
"Explorer. Problem solver. Certified reader. Incurable web expert. Subtly charming travel guru. General student. Twitter evangelist."

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