Italy vs Ukraine: Euro 2024 Qualifiers Preview, Potential Lineups & Prediction

Giuseppe Meazza is the venue as Italy and Ukraine go head-to-head in Tuesday’s pivotal Euro 2024 qualifying showdown. Let’s look at our match preview for this high-stakes contest.

North Macedonia threw a dent into the Italians’ bid to book tickets for next summer’s tournament in Germany last time out, holding Gli Azzurri to a 1-1 draw on Luciano Spalletti’s touchline debut. The same nation condemned Italy to back-to-back busted attempts to qualify for the World Cup, beating them 1-0 in last summer’s qualification playoffs.

Not only did Italy drop two points in Skopje, but they also lost two significant first-team stars in Gianluca Mancini and Matteo Politano. To fill the void behind his ex-Napoli pupil’s injury, Spalletti has handed Bologna’s Riccardo Orsolini a late call-up. Nothing less than a victory will do for the reigning European champions here.

With three points separating the upcoming rivals at the halfway stage of the qualifying campaign, Italy will be desperate to close the gap in front of their home support. Considering they also have a game in hand, a triumph here would see them take a giant step toward reaching the final tournament. 

However, there’s no shortage of confidence in the visiting camp after the Ukrainians stunned England in a hard-fought 1-1 draw in Wroclaw on Saturday. Unbeaten in their last three qualifying matches (W2, D1) since a 2-0 defeat at Wembley Stadium on the opening matchday, Serhiy Rebrov’s men come into proceeding in high spirits. 

Avoiding defeat in Milan would significantly bolster Ukraine’s chances of advancing into their fourth consecutive Euro finals. But given what’s at stake for Italy, that could prove easier said than done.

Match Preview

Italy

It’s been a disappointing Euro 2024 qualifying cycle for the Italians thus far. After delivering a mixed bag of performance in their opening two qualifiers under former manager Roberto Mancini (W1, L1), they shared the spoils for the first time in Spalletti’s maiden game in charge. 

Another failed effort to rack up three points could devastate Gli Azzurri’s quest to book a place at the final tournament for the eighth edition on the trot. Since you’d need to go back to 1992 for the last time Italy did not qualify for the Euro finals, Spalletti will be under pressure to deliver on his home debut. 

Last season’s Scudetto-winning manager can draw confidence from Italy’s supreme home form in Euro qualifiers, having lost just once in 26 such fixtures in the 21st century (W21, D4).

Player to Watch: Ciro Immobile

After scoring in his first game as the new Italy captain, Immobile will take the field in a buoyant mood, even though the North Macedonians nullified his opening strike in Skopje last weekend.

Ukraine

Keen to give those back home a reason to celebrate amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Rebrov’s men have gone from strength to strength since his appointment in June. In addition to pulling off a sensational come-from-behind 3-2 win in North Macedonia in Rebrov’s first Euro qualifier in charge, they held Germany to a goal-glutted 3-3 friendly draw on the 49-year-old’s touchline debut.

While playing away from home has become Ukraine’s habit because of a higher force, their recent traveling record in away Euro qualifiers is nothing short of impressive. They have only suffered two defeats across their last 12 such contests (W6, D4). But it’s not all rosy by any stretch of the imagination.

A deeper peek into Ukraine’s recent road trips shows they’ve failed to get on the scoresheet in their last three visits to current top-ten ranked nations. 

Player to Watch: Oleksandr Zinchenko

The versatile Arsenal midfielder has developed into a talismanic figure for his country. He has not lost any of his nine scoring appearances for Ukraine (W7, D2), including the abovementioned draw against England over the weekend.

Team News

Despite facing harsh criticism after a draw in Skopje, Gianluigi Donnarumma should retain his spot between the sticks. But without Politano in the front third, new West Ham ace Nicolo Zaniolo looks like a decent candidate to fill the vacancy.

Meanwhile, after starting on the bench against the Three Lions, Ukraine captain Andriy Yarmolenko should regain his place in the starting lineup at the expense of underperforming Chelsea winger Mykhailo Mudryk. 

Italy vs Ukraine Potential Lineups

Italy (4-3-3): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Giorgio Scalvini, Alessandro Bastoni, Federico Dimarco; Nicolo Barella, Bryan Cristante, Sandro Tonali; Nicolo Zaniolo, Mattia Zaccagni, Ciro Immobile.

Ukraine (4-5-1): Heorhiy Bushchan; Yukhym Konoplya, Illya Zabarnyi, Serhiy Kryvstov, Vitaliy Mykolenko; Viktor Tsygankov, Taras Stepanenko, Sudakov, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Andriy Yarmolenko; Roman Yaremchuk

Italy vs Ukraine Prediction

Ukraine’s stubborn display against England suggests Italy will have to work their socks off to earn all three points. While this won’t be a walk in the park by any means, we expect Spalletti to get into the win column.

Prediction: Italy Win

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