Gianluigi Donnarumma reflected on the late penalty drama in Italy’s crucial draw with Ukraine and underlined the team’s ‘great joy’ after qualifying for Euro 2024.

The pressure was on the Azzurri for this international break, needing positive results against both North Macedonia and Ukraine to qualify for next summer’s tournament in Germany. Luciano Spalletti’s side impressed against the former, securing a 5-2 victory, but found more difficulty in their final game.

Tensions were sky high at the BayArena on Monday night and neither team could break the deadlock, both desperately fighting for their Euro 2024 spot. In the closing minutes of the match, Roma’s Bryan Cristante came together with Mykhailo Mudryk in the penalty area and the referee didn’t award a spot kick. The match ended goalless, taking Italy to the European Championship.

Speaking at the mixed area via TMW after the match, Donnarumma first discussed the importance of Italy’s draw with Ukraine.

“It was certainly needed, it was fundamental and we are very happy. It was a difficult, complicated match. They are an excellent team, we knew we had to suffer to bring home qualification for the European Championship.

“We did it in the best possible way, the whole team it was united and compact, just as the coach asked. This gives us great joy, the desire to go to the European Championship and be protagonists.”

He spoke about Italy’s ability to grow under Spalletti.

“We have incredible room for growth. The coach is giving us a lot, he’s making us work very well. We just have to train and listen to the coach, I’m sure we’ll go very far.”

The goalkeeper commented on how it felt to wear the captain’s armband.

“Yes, I’m honoured to represent this team, this group. Wearing this shirt is an honour, it’s a privilege. I hope to always honour it to the maximum by always giving everything. All of Italian football deserves it, our fans deserve it. I’m truly proud.”

Donnarumma was asked if Ukraine should’ve been awarded a late penalty.

“From there on the pitch I didn’t understand it very well, they are situations on the pitch. Then after reviewing the video, in my opinion it could’ve been called.

“But it’s fine like this, let’s say it’s fine like this. Now we’re not thinking about it, we’re thinking about celebrating and enjoying this suffered draw with a big team.”

Finally, Donnarumma was asked if he had any unfinished business.

“No, I don’t have any unfinished business. I always try to give my best, I’m the captain of this team and I have to set an example.

“I’m proud of what I’ve done and what I’m doing. I’m certainly only thinking about the pitch, growing, the team and giving my best. I’m calm about other things.”

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