Wednesday, September 27, 2023
31 C
Brunei Town
- Advertisement -

Italy to face England in Euro 2024 qualifying

FRANKFURT (AFP) – Reigning champions Italy were drawn yesterday to face England, the team they beat in the final last year, and Ukraine in qualifying for the 2024 European Championship.

Euro 2024, hosted by Germany, will be Italy’s chance to regain some pride after they failed to qualify for the World Cup finals which kick off in Qatar in six weeks’ time.

Italy beat hosts England in a penalty shootout at Wembley last year after the match ended 1-1 following extra time.

After the draw in Frankfurt, Italy coach Roberto Mancini said, “I knew that we’d get either England or France, but that’s okay. It’s a decent five-team group, no easy matches, all ones we can have a go at.”

Italy will also play North Macedonia, the country which knocked them out of the World Cup in the playoffs in Palermo in March.

“It’s one of those matches that you get every now and again, and as we saw in Palermo we have to take every match seriously, even those that seem the simplest,” Mancini told RAI Sport.

Former football player Juergen Klinsmann holds the lot of Italy during the draw. PHOTO: AP

France, who will defend their world title in Qatar, were drawn to face the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland in Group B while Spain’s opponents in Group A will include Scotland and Erling Haaland’s Norway.

France have bad memories of playing the Irish, who they only beat to reach the 2010 World Cup finals thanks to what appeared to be a handball by Thierry Henry.

“It’s a pretty heavy group, a group with value,” France coach Didier Deschamps said.

“We’ll have to win and be better than our opponents, as usual.”

Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be 39 by the time the finals kick off, go into a Group J including Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iceland.

Croatia, the losing World Cup finalists in 2018, are in Group D with World Cup qualifiers Wales as well as Turkey.

Denmark, another team going to Qatar, have Finland, Slovenia and Northern Ireland among the teams in their Group H.

Russia is excluded from the competition because of its invasion of Ukraine.

As hosts, three-time European champions Germany qualify automatically.

The Euro 2024 finals will be played in 10 German cities from June 14 to July 14 as the tournament returns to being hosted by a single country following the multi-country format used for Euro 2020.

- Advertisement -

Latest article