Ukraine have never beaten Italy in an international game, and now will be the best time for that as their UEFA Euro 2024 qualification depends on a victory.
Serhiy Rebrov will lead Ukraine in their new temporary home in Germany for, by far, their most important game in recent years when they take on Italy on Monday. Torn by off-field problems, Ukraine have been a good performer in their qualification group, and they would like to go the distance when they face Italy.
After an eventful draw against England followed by a loss to Italy, Ukraine have recovered with wins over North Macedonia and Malta. Those recovery victories have given them a chance to qualify automatically to the tournament, provided they can outright beat Italy in Monday’s qualifier.
All we need is win 🙌
🇺🇦🇮🇹 20.11 Ukraine – Italy ⚔️⚔️⚔️ pic.twitter.com/Y8jBM4byi1
— Ukrainian Association of Football (@uafukraine) November 17, 2023
A loss would keep them in third, and Ukraine placed well for a playoff in UEFA Nations League B, albeit not guaranteed yet. They have never defeated Italy in an international fixture, losing seven of their nine encounters. Hence, Rebrov’s men must create history to beat their European counterparts and seal the pathway towards Euro 2024.
Luciano Spalletti will rue some of the recent results but hope those do not return to bite Italy back in their quest to qualify for the Euros. As reigning champions, the Azzurri will feel they deserve the chance to defend their title.
While the loss against England did not come as a big surprise, the draw against North Macedonia before that did make a few of their fans worry. They have since got their revenge against the latter as Spalletti’s men proved too good for their opponents to retain their second-placed spot.
As we enter the final match of this qualification campaign, Italy must either win or draw against Ukraine to guarantee themselves a second-placed finish behind England. If they manage to lose this game, then Italy are assured of a UEFA Nations League A playoff spot. Hence, comparatively, the pressure is on Ukraine rather than Spalletti’s men.
Team News & Tactics
Serhiy Rebrov will look to name his strongest starting eleven for this clash, as it is a must-win game for Ukraine. With no fresh fitness concerns after the Malta clash, the hosts could make only one change against Italy compared to their last game.
Preparing 👌 pic.twitter.com/37qrK7alva
— Ukrainian Association of Football (@uafukraine) November 18, 2023
Yukhym Konoplya could come in for Vladyslav Vanat on the right wing, with the rest of the team expected to remain the same. Captain Oleksandr Zinchenko will occupy his midfield role for Ukraine alongside Serhiy Sydorchuk.
Vitaliy Mykolenko and Illia Zabarnyi should also keep their places in the team. Mykola Matviyenko will complete the central defence, while Oleksandr Karavayev will start at right-back. Mykhailo Mudryk will continue to feature in the front three from the left-hand side. Heorhiy Sudakov will assume the central attacking role while Artem Dovbyk will continue to lead the line for Ukraine.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Trubin; Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Mykolenko; Sydorchuk, Zinchenko; Konoplya, Sudakov, Mudryk; Dovbyk
Luciano Spalletti does not have any fresh fitness issues in his squad, and like his counterpart Serhiy Rebrov, the Italian will also name his best available lineup. The Italy boss must make the best decision for the team, and he could even name the same starting eleven that beat North Macedonia.
— Italy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@Azzurri_En) November 18, 2023
He does have some options to freshen things up, but Spalletti will likely keep momentum and rename the same team for the Ukraine clash. Nicolo Zaniolo and Davide Frattesi could feature on the bench again for Spalletti’s side.
Jorginho will start back-to-back games at the base of Italy’s midfield, as Spalletti still needs Manuel Locatelli in that midfield. Nicolo Barella and Giacomo Bonaventura will begin on either side of the Arsenal man, and it thus far represents Italy’s best available midfield selections.
Federico Chiesa, who scored twice last time out, will continue to hold down the left flank and hope to find the net against Ukraine. Giacomo Raspadori, who also found the net in the last game, will lead the line for Italy, with Domenico Berardi featuring on the right-hand side of the attacking third.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Darmian, Gatti, Acerbi, Dimarco; Barella, Jorginho, Bonaventura; Berardi, Raspadori, Chiesa
- Ukraine have not beaten Italy in an international fixture before.
- Ukraine have lost seven games against Italy in their nine encounters (D2).
- Italy have scored at least two goals in five of their last six matches against Ukraine in all competitions.
- Italy have a better goal difference than Ukraine, keeping them second in the table.
- Italy must draw or win to ensure a second-placed finish in their group.
Player to Watch
— Nazionale Italiana ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@Azzurri) November 18, 2023
A brace against North Macedonia will have boosted the Juventus winger’s confidence and made him one of the most dangerous players when Ukraine and Italy meet. In a game of such magnitude, many players are eager to make a difference, but the Italian winger has the x-factor among everyone else.
Chiesa can turn games on its head with a single action and has returned to his best form this season. There is a big chance for Italy to banish some recent qualification ghosts and ensure a second-placed finish. In games like these, the Juventus winger can prove decisive.
Ukraine 2-2 Italy
This clash makes for this international break’s most exciting qualifying game. For Ukraine, it is a must-win encounter, and they will put their best foot forward to ensure they secure a safe passage through to the finals. Italy, however, will come into this match with the straightforward objective of winning or drawing.
These teams are likely to put each other under tremendous pressure throughout the game, but an eventful draw is on the cards. Both teams have the required firepower in either area of the pitch, which could see them share the spoils in an entertaining football game, thus securing Italy a spot in next summer’s UEFA Euro 2024.