Italy has chased away its old demons. Under pressure this Monday against Ukraine, the Nazionale did not crack and will be in the game at Euro 2024. The 2021 European champion will have trembled until the end against the Ukrainians but the draw (0 -0) is in the pocket and qualification with it. This is the main thing that the Italian press remembers this Tuesday, relieved and impatient to go to Germany next summer.
“Here we are!”, headlines this morning the Gazzetta dello Sport, which holds the “heart” of its team in a “difficult and tense match”. Without achieving a “majestic performance”, Italy turned its back to contain the offensives of Ukraine, “generous and tough” from the hour mark. The sports daily insists on the performance of the defense, played by Gianluigi Donnarumma and his two central figures, Francesco Acerbi and Alessandro Buongiorno. “Terror” for the opponent, the “fuoriclasse” Federico Chiesa is also honored by the newspaper, which follows in the footsteps of his coach. “Now the best is yet to come,” declared Luciano Spalletti, whose first mission at the head of the selection is accomplished. Cursed in the World Cup play-offs (absent from the final phase in 2018 and 2022), Italy avoided a third disaster to join the European elite.
In line with the Gazzetta, the rest of the sports press today breathes a sigh of relief. “Here we are again” congratulates Tuttosport while Corriere dello Sport is content with “Let’s go!”, both front pages showing the same photo of the Italian collective in joy. Tuttosport highlights the contrast between the performances of the executives in midfield. “In difficulty”, Jorginho was able to count on a Nicolo Barella of the big nights, important for his “dynamism” and his “quality”. Overall, the report card given to the players and... to the referee, Mr Gil Manzano, is positive. To get out of it, Italy actually benefited from a favorable twist of fate when contact in the penalty area between Bryan Cristante and Mykhaïlo Mudryk, in the 93rd minute, did not result in a penalty. for Ukraine. A contentious action obviously at the heart of the debates this morning but there is no question for Italy of complaining.
“Cristante's foot seems to touch him, he (Mudryk) falls as if struck by an electric shock,” writes the Gazzetta, which nevertheless evokes a “small gift” good to take from the refereeing body. Same story among their colleagues. “Very risky intervention by Cristante (...) The sensation is that Mudryk flies away: a quasi simulation,” summarizes Tuttosport while Corriere, giving the Spanish referee a score of 6/10, admits “contact” but “too accentuated” by the Ukrainian attacker.
“We must be honest, and avoid listing the numerous refereeing errors which, in the past, have deprived us of success, titles and damaged the liver: in the last seconds, the referee Gil Manzano pretended to not seeing the penalty which would have allowed Ukraine to take advantage of a great opportunity. The VAR assistant had fled to the toilet for a moment (inflamed prostate, I imagine). In short, it didn’t go well, but it went very well,” the Corriere editorial dares with humor. After experiencing hell during the last qualifying campaigns for the World Cup, Italy saw the coin fall on their side last night.
The double winner of the Euro (1968 and 2021) will defend his title well from June 14, 2024 and now hopes to avoid hat 4 in the draw on December 2. Everything will depend on the results of Croatia and Wales, who end their qualifying campaign this Tuesday evening in Group D, but the trend is not favorable to the Nazionale. If his presence in the last pot is confirmed, a very strong group could be offered to him in the company, for example, of France and Denmark. “If this team wants to achieve a result, even at the Euro, it must tear it out with its teeth,” analyzes La Gazzetta. This will last until Bellingham and Mbappé are born here too. In search of big stars like its European neighbors, Italy will not miss this time the big competition of the summer. Her fear gone, she now dreams of a second consecutive coronation. The appointment is made.