Last night, the Italian national team prevailed over the players of North Macedonia (5:2) and now the fate of a direct ticket to Euro 2024 will be decided in the confrontation between the Azzurra Squadra and Ukraine in Leverkusen, Germany on November 20.
In a conversation with a Sport.ua correspondent, a well-known striker in the past, who later achieved success in the coaching field – Igor Yavorsky shared his impressions of the Roman confrontation and assessed the chances of the Ukrainians in Monday’s match in Germany:
– No miracle happened. The North Macedonians resisted as best they could, but the level of preparation of the hosts was higher, which affected the final result.
– Now, in order to directly qualify for Euro 2024, the Italians will be satisfied with even a draw on Monday. In your opinion, will Luciano Spalletti’s team play second in Leverkusen?
– This Italian team does not play defensively. By the way, I like the playing style of the current Squadra Azzurra more than when Roberto Mancini was at the helm. I agree that this type of football is somewhat straightforward, but it is more aggressive, focused on finding shortcuts to the goal, than when the Italians were previously focused on controlling the ball. Secondly, the Italians increased the speed of their passes, and they now have more attacks at a second pace. It seems that Italy plays itself and allows the opponent to do it.
– The Italians approached the decisive matches with North Macedonia and Ukraine with considerable personnel losses. Could this negatively impact their performance at Leverkusen?
– Hardly. Italy has a long bench and Spalletti has plenty to choose from. The young people he gave a chance to prove themselves live up to expectations.
– What vulnerabilities did you notice in the Italian formations?
– The North Macedonians did not often threaten the hosts’ possessions, but it was striking that they had slow defenders who did not always make the right decisions. Just remember the episode when the Balkans scored their first goal, when the hosts’ stoppers simply lost a visiting player in the goalkeeper’s area. Ukraine has enough fast players, such as Mikhail Mudrik, and the Italians must be forced to make mistakes.
– On November 20, our guys only need a victory. Will they operate with their visor open?
– I don’t think so, in my opinion, there will be a careful game on both sides. Still, you have to be careful with the Italians, they are very mobile in the final stages of attacks. That is why a lot will depend on how the Ukrainian midfielders will play in the selection, whether the safety net in defense will be reliable. If everything is in order in our possessions, then I am convinced that this will allow us to attack more boldly. And the nominal hosts will definitely have a chance to hit the target. In particular, I think that the Italians spent more energy yesterday than the Ukrainians in the sparring with Lechia, so why not take advantage of this? But the main thing is to discard the thought that there will still be a chance to get to Euro 2024 through the play-offs. You just need to tune in to receive a direct pass.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian national team continues the training process. Before flying to Germany, the Ukrainians trained in Gdansk. Training conditions have worsened, because yesterday the first snow fell in the Polish city.
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