Milan legend Andriy Shevchenko adores Italy and sees it as his second home, but tonight ‘only one can win’ and it would mean an extraordinary amount to the Ukraine squad.
It kicks off on neutral turf at the BayArena in Leverkusen at 19.45 GMT.
As Italy won 2-1 at San Siro in September, it means a draw would be sufficient here to send Italy through to EURO 2024 thanks to a superior head-to-head record.
If Ukraine win this evening, it will push Italy down into the play-offs.
“It means so much to us, above all to give joy and relief to our people who are fighting for the country on the front line,” Shevchenko told RAI Sport.
“This is our chance to give them something to be happy about. I really respect Italy, they are a great team, but unfortunately only one can win today and I naturally hope it will be Italy.”
The game is played in Leverkusen because of the on-going war in Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
“I want to thank all of Italy for their messages of support and solidarity for my country. It is a very difficult moment for us and we continue to need your support.”
Since Serhiy Rebrov took over the job of coach, Ukraine have lost only one match, that 2-1 to Italy in September, along with four wins and two draws.