Defending European champions Italy qualified for Euro 2024 after a goalless draw against Ukraine in Germany.
The point ensured Italy finished second in Group C, level on 14 points with third-placed Ukraine but with a better head-to-head record after a tense encounter. which could have been completed.
Ukraine, who are yet to beat Italy, had a strong claim for a stoppage-time penalty after Bryan Cristante’s clumsy challenge on Mykhailo Mudryk but none were awarded.
Ukraine can still book a place in a fourth consecutive European Championship through the play-offs in March. The play-off draw will take place on Thursday in Nyon.
Meanwhile, Italy finished six points behind Group C winners England, who sealed qualification after beating Luciano Spalletti’s team 3-1 at Wembley last October.
How Italy secured their place at Euro 2024
The match at Leverkusen’s BayArena got off to a lively start but both goalkeepers – Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma and Ukraine’s Anatoliy Trubin – held firm in an entertaining contest.
Italy, who will be making their eighth consecutive appearance at the Euros, had more possession and created more chances but Ukraine remained composed as they looked to counter-attack.
Italy’s Federico Chiesa had a chance to break the deadlock in the seventh minute but his effort from inside the box flew sharply over the bar before Donnarumma denied Ukraine an opener seven minutes later by keeping low shot by Georgiy Sudakov.
Defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo almost nodded home for Italy from a corner just before the half-hour mark before Trubin pulled off a stunning save to deny Davide Frattesi.
Italy continued to dominate after the break but Ukraine’s scrutiny increased and Mudryk went close in the 66th minute only to be denied by Donnarumma who produced another fine save.
Slovenia and the Czech Republic have also qualified for Euro 2024
Slovenia are at the Euros for the first time in almost a quarter of a century after finishing second in Group H behind Denmark.
A late goal from Benjamin Verbic saw Slovenia beat Kazakhstan 2-1 and qualify for the tournament for the first time since Euro 2000.
the Czech Republic will join Slovenia in Germany next summer after beating 10-player Moldova 3-0 at home to seal second place in Group E.
Albania finished as winners of Group E after a goalless home draw against the Faroe Islands meant they finished above the Czech Republic thanks to a superior head-to-head record.