Luciano Spalletti and his Italian side have vowed to continue with a high-risk approach in Monday’s high-stakes clash with Ukraine in Leverkusen, although they could miss out on another major tournament if they lose.
Italy beat North Macedonia 5-2 on Friday to move ahead of Ukraine into second place in the group. Italy need just a draw to secure automatic qualification for Euro 2024.
Federico Ceesa, who scored twice, said: „We are very positive under Spalletti. We are taking a few more risks in defence.”
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We want to play against Ukraine with this mentality.
The Euro 2020 champions have failed to qualify for the past two World Cups and a defeat to Ukraine would see the war-torn Eastern European nation qualify for the Euros, while Italy face a play-off in 2024 and a shot at defending their title.
While keeping a clean sheet will book the Azzurri’s ticket to Germany for next year’s tournament, Spalletti’s attack-minded side have promised not to sit back and defend like Italian teams of the past.
Attacking football is beautiful
Despite a flattering scoreline against North Macedonia, the two-time European champions left the door open for their bogey side.
Leading 3-0 at the break, Italy conceded two goals to Johnny Attanaso in the second half to allow North Macedonia back into the contest.
Spalletti’s attack-minded approach is typical of Napoli, who maneuvered a fearsome attacking machine last season as they won the Scudetto for the first time since the days of Diego Maradona.
Winger Seesa was dangerous throughout and scored a brace in the first half. He is not worried about his side’s defensive performance.
„The important thing is that we won,” Chiesa said.
„We are more positive under Spalletti, which means we take a few more risks in defence. We showed that we want to dominate the play and we deserved the win.
Chiesa praised Spalletti’s attacking approach, saying conceding goals was „part of the beauty of attacking football”.
Chisa promised more on Monday.
„We want to play against Ukraine with this mentality and win in Leverkusen.
„We must not miss this goal.”
A great Italy
Italy’s second-half wobble was a bit of a concern for Spalletti after Friday’s game.
„It was a great Italy, both in character and quality of play.
„I expected us to struggle, freeze and try to hang on. Instead we got back on the pitch, put our moves together and scored goals. Along with the two we scored, we had a number of other big chances.
Spalletti called the match against Ukraine „final”.
„The best in the competition will go to the Euros,” he said.
Ukraine’s qualifying campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with the ongoing conflict forcing the team to take its home games on the road.
Despite playing nearly 2,000 kilometers away from Kiev, Ukraine are likely to enjoy a home atmosphere in Leverkusen.
The German Federal Office for Migration estimates that more than one million refugees from Ukraine have fled to Germany since February 2022.
Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk played their home Champions League matches in Hamburg this season, drawing massive crowds to the city’s Volkspark Stadium.
Ukraine have lost just one of their seven matches dating back to March, although that defeat came at the hands of Italy, beating Serhiy Repro’s men 2-1 in Milan.
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