Italy secured their place at Euro 2024 after the defending champions withstood a second-half rally from Ukraine to earn the point they needed with a 0-0 draw in their final Group C qualifier.
With England’s place at the top of the group already confirmed, Luciano Spalletti’s team knew a draw would send them through automatically to next year’s tournament in Germany.
A strong start by Italy at Bayer Leverkusen’s BayArena, Ukraine’s designated stadium for this fixture due to the ongoing war with Russia in their homeland, failed to produce the opening goal with Giovanni Di Lorenzo sending two efforts wide before Davide Frattesi was denied.
While Federico Chiesa continued to be a threat for Italy, Ukraine were able to grow into the match and Mykhailo Mudryk was thwarted from close range by Gianluigi Donnarumma in the 65th minute.
Ukraine boss Serhiy Rebrov made a number of substitutions late on to force the breakthrough, but despite Mudryk being caught by Bryan Cristante inside the area in the 93rd minute, penalty appeals were waved away by referee Jesus Gil Manzano and Italy confirmed their spot at Euro 2024.
England signed off a strong Group C campaign with a subdued display in a 1-1 draw away to North Macedonia.
Gareth Southgate’s team went behind in the 41st minute when full debutant Rico Lewis was harshly penalised by VAR following a collision with Bojan Miovski inside the area and Enis Bardhi fired home the rebound after Jordan Pickford saved his spot-kick.
An own-goal by Jani Atanasov from Phil Foden’s cross before the hour mark did ensure England finish the qualification campaign unbeaten.
A goal from Tomas Soucek helped Czech Republic qualify for Euro 2024 from Group E after a 3-0 win over Moldova.
Victory for Moldova at Andruv Stadion would have sent them through to the finals, but they trailed after 14 minutes to David Doudera’s effort.
A difficult task was made even harder straight after half-time when Vladislav Baboglo was sent off and Tomas Chory’s 72nd-minute goal helped relinquish any tension before West Ham midfielder Soucek added a late third.
Czech Republic had to be content with second spot despite eventual Group E winners Albania being held 0-0 at home to the Faroe Islands.
Albania’s fine qualification campaign ended with a lacklustre display against the minnows, who registered 10 shots compared to the hosts’ tally of eight.
Northern Ireland ended a difficult qualifying cycle with an impressive 2-0 win over Denmark.
Group H winners Denmark were stunned at a rocking Windsor Park with Isaac Price firing beyond Kasper Schmeichel at his near post on the hour mark.
Dion Charles made the points safe with nine minutes left when he swept home a cross from substitute Conor McMenamin.
Denmark were already guaranteed top spot in Group H but Slovenia finished level on points with them after they recorded a late 2-1 win over Kazakhstan.
In what was effectively a winner-takes-all contest, Ramazan Orazov cancelled out Benjamin Sesko’s first-half penalty early in the second period to boost Kazakhstan’s hopes of progressing.
Kazakhstan pushed for a winner but Benjamin Verbic confirmed Slovenia’s place at Euro 2024 with an 86th-minute clincher.
Finland finished third after Pyry Soiri’s double helped beat San Marino 2-1.
San Marino supporters were able to celebrate only their third goal of the qualification campaign after Filippo Berardi netted a consolation in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
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Watch Republic of Ireland Under-21 v Italy Under-21 in Euro 2025 qualifying on Tuesday from 5pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player and follow a live blog on www.rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app
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