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Italy promise to take risks against Ukraine with Euro 2024 spot at stake

Published : Monday, 20 November, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 145

BERLIN, NOV 19: Luciano Spalletti and his Italian team pledged to continue a high-risk approach in Monday's high-stakes clash with Ukraine in Leverkusen, despite the danger of missing yet another major tournament if they lose.

Italy beat North Macedonia 5-2 on Friday to overtake Ukraine to move to second in the group. Italy needs only a draw to secure automatic qualification for Euro 2024.  

"We are more positive under Spalletti," said Federico Chiesa who scored twice. "We take a few more risks in defence."
"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 loss to Ukraine would see the war-torn Eastern European nation qualify for the Euros, leaving Italy facing a playoff tournament in 2024 to have a shot at defending their title.

While keeping a clean sheet would book the Azzurri a ticket to Germany for next year's tournament, Spalletti's attack-minded side have pledged not to sit back and defend like Italian teams of the past.  

Despite a flattering scoreline against North Macedonia, the two-time European Champions left the door open for their bogey team.

Leading 3-0 at half-time, Italy conceded two second-half goals to Jani Atanasov, allowing North Macedonia back into the match.

The attack-minded approach is typical of Spalletti, who masterminded a fearsome offensive machine at Napoli last season as they won the Scudetto for the first time since the days of Diego Maradona.

Winger Chiesa was dangerous throughout and scored a first-half brace. He was not concerned about his side's defensive performance.

"The important thing is that we won" said Chiesa.

"We are more positive under Spalletti, and that means we take a few more risks in defence. We showed that we wanted to dominate the play and we deserved to win."

Chiesa praised Spalletti's attacking approach saying conceding goals was "part of the beauty of attacking football."    �AFP

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