Sports Desk, Nov 21 (EFE).- A goalless draw against Ukraine in Leverkusen on Monday was enough for defending champions Italy to qualify for next year’s European Championship in Germany.
Czechia and Slovenia joined the side in the final round with wins over Moldova and Kazakhstan, respectively, with 20 teams now qualifying for the tournament in June–July 2024.
Spain, Scotland, France, the Netherlands, England, Turkey, Albania, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Denmark, Romania, Switzerland, Portugal, and Slovakia are the other teams to qualify for the tournament so far, alongside hosts Germany.
Italy and Ukraine both finished Group C on 14 points, and the Italians advanced courtesy of their 2-1 win in the corresponding home fixture in September.
Italy dominated the opening half in the German city, but Ukraine pressed hard for a winner in the final 20 minutes, only to be denied by Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Ukraine, who became the first side since Northern Ireland in 2010 to stop Italy from scoring in Euro qualifying, are now headed for the play-offs.
England ended Group C unbeaten after securing a 1-1 draw against North Macedonia away from home.
Enis Bardhi gave the hosts a surprise lead in the first half, but Jani Atanasov’s own goal put England level after the break.
Slovenia have qualified for the Euro only for the second time and the first time since 2000.
They needed a draw against Kazakhstan and led the first half with Benjamin Sesko scoring from a penalty.
Ramazan Orazov scored his first international goal for Kazakhstan early in the second half of the game.
Substitute Benjamin Verbie ensured Slovenia left the field as winners, relegating Kazakhstan into the play-offs.
Czechia claimed second place in Group E behind Albania, beating 10-man Moldova comprehensively.
David Doudera scored the opening goal in the first half before Vladislav Baboglo’s red card reduced Moldova to 10 men in the early second half.
Czechia took full advantage, with Tomas Chory and Tomas Soucek scoring further to ensure their country entered their eighth successive Euro finals on a high.
Pyry Soiri scored twice in the space of eight minutes in the second half as Finland beat San Marino 2-1 and finished third in Group H behind Denmark and Slovenia.
Filippo Berardi scored the consolation goal for San Marino from a penalty deep into the injury time of the second half.
The Euro 2024 qualifying round will end on Tuesday, with Croatia and Wales vying for the remaining direct slot.
The draw for the tournament is set for Thursday at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
Twenty teams will qualify for the finals in Germany through the group stage, while another three will join the hosts through the play-offs. EFE