Italy have booked their ticket to EURO 2024, but only thanks to a goalless draw against Ukraine, who can argue they deserved a stoppage-time penalty.
The Azzurri knew a point would suffice to qualify for the tournament, thanks to a superior head-to-head record, but a victory would boost their ranking for the draw. Domenico Berardi joined the lengthy absentee list, including Alessandro Bastoni, Giorgio Scalvini, Mateo Retegui, Rafael Toloi and Mattia Zaccagni, but Giovanni Di Lorenzo returned from suspension after the 5-2 win over North Macedonia. Andriy Yarmolenko missed out following knee surgery.
Federico Chiesa ballooned over from close range in the opening minutes when Nicolò Zaniolo knocked back a corner from the far post.
Alessandro Buongiorno was a surprise starter on only his second cap, but was booked after just eight minutes for hauling back Artem Dovbyk.
Gianluigi Donnarumma had to get down quickly for a tough one-handed save on Georgiy Sudakov’s daisy-cutter, but Anatoliy Trubin also had his gloves stung by a Nicolò Barella scorcher.
Di Lorenzo’s header skimmed the near post on a Federico Dimarco corner, then Trubin rushed off his line to parry the Frattesi finish with a trailing foot.
Chiesa flashed a ball across the six-yard box with Giacomo Raspadori sliding in a moment too late to connect, and he was replaced by Gianluca Scamacca at half-time.
Chiesa’s curler was wide of the target and another Di Lorenzo header over, while Mykolenko was crucial to stop Frattesi reaching the smart Scamacca through ball.
Ukraine almost scored with a very strange move, as the long throw bounced awkwardly and Donnarumma had to throw himself in the way of Mudryk’s finish at the back post.
Moments later, Donnarumma was again alert with help from Buongiorno after a smart Dovbyk back-heel flick. Mudryk scuffed a finish wide from the edge of the area and Scamacca couldn’t get hold of the Chiesa pull-back from six yards.
An exhausted Chiesa made way for Moise Kean, who had a shot charged down, but in stoppages there was a huge scare when Mudryk went down under a challenge from Bryan Cristante, but the referee waved play on and surprisingly so did VAR.
Ukraine 0-0 Italy