Ukrainian paper slams UEFA after Italy qualify for Euro 2024

‘UEFA Mafia?’: Ukraine paper SLAMS Europe’s governing body after Italy held on for controversial draw to reach Euro 2024… just weeks after the president claimed it would be a ‘disaster’ for the holders to miss out

  • Ukraine were held to a controversial goalless draw by Italy on Monday night 
  • Ukraine felt they should have had a late penalty, but the referee waved play on
  • Trent and Bellingham can play together but can’t get in each other’s way – IAKO

A Ukrainian paper has hit out at UEFA after their side were held to a controversial 0-0 draw by Italy to miss out on automatic qualification for Euro 2024 on Monday night.

Ukraine needed a win to jump above their opponents into second spot to make next year’s tournament in Germany alongside group winners England.

They pushed for a late goal, but were denied a penalty by Spanish referee Gil Manzano in stoppage time when Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk appeared to be tripped in the box by Italy midfielder Bryan Cristante.

VAR checked the incident but did not intervene and Italy held on for the point they needed. Ukraine felt a series of decisions went against them in the closing stages of the match, and their media has now seemed to question the integrity of Europe’s governing body, implying that they wanted Italy to qualify at their expense.

Ukrainian paper X Sport led with the question ‘UEFA Mafia?’ in the headline for their match report.

A Ukrainian paper has questioned whether UEFA are running a mafia after failing to beat Italy

Mykhailo Mudryk appeared to be fouled by Bryan Cristante but a penalty was not given

Spanish referee Gil Manzano waved play on, and VAR failed to intervene

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Their anger follows comments made by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin just weeks ago, when he backed Italy to beat Ukraine and claimed it would be a ‘disaster’ if the Euro holders missed out on next summer’s competition.

‘Italy must qualify for Euro 2024, otherwise it would be a disaster. Italy is too important. I think Italy will beat Ukraine,’ Ceferin said.

Ukraine manager Serhiy Rebrov was furious when asked about Ceferin’s remarks prior to the match, and said his players would use them as motivation.

They certainly appeared fired up to take on the Azzurri but fell just short in getting the victory they required, having not been helped by the referee’s late non-penalty call. 

Italy failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup after a shocking play-off defeat to North Macedonia, but they will get the chance to defend their European title after Monday’s stalemate in Leverkusen.

Ukraine are now set to go into the play-offs, which are due to be played in March, to try to secure their spot. 

Ukraine’s anger comes after UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin (pictured) claimed it would be a ‘disaster’ if Italy didn’t make Euro 2024


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