Italy to face England in 2024 Euro qualifying
Football

Italy to face England in 2024 Euro qualifying

In qualifying for the 2024 European Championship, reigning champions Italy were drawn to face England, the team they defeated in the final last year.

Euro 2024, which will be hosted by Germany, will be Italy’s chance to reclaim some pride after failing to qualify for the World Cup finals, which begin in Qatar in six weeks.

Italy defeated England on penalties in the Covid-delayed Euro 2020 final at Wembley last year after the match ended 1-1 after extra time.

Italy advanced to the Nations League final four, relegating England to League B, resulting in the two countries being drawn in Euro 2024 qualifying Group C alongside Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Malta.

England’s relegation placed them in Pot 2 for the Frankfurt draw, while Italy was among the top seeds for qualifying.

Roberto Mancini, Italy’s coach, stated: “I knew we’d get either England or France, but that’s fine with me. It’s a good five-team group with no easy matches and all of which we can compete.”

Italy will be wary of facing North Macedonia, the Balkan country that eliminated them from the World Cup playoffs in Palermo in March.

“It’s ironic when you’ve had a fixture like we’ve had and then played them again so recently that you seem to have these sort of things,” England coach Gareth Southgate told the BBC.

In Group B, France will face the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Greece, and Gibraltar in an attempt to retain the World Cup.

The French have bad memories of playing the Irish, whom they only beat to advance to the World Cup finals in 2010 thanks to what appeared to be a clear handball by Thierry Henry.

Scotland and Norway, led by prolific Manchester City forward Erling Haaland, will be Spain’s opponents in Group A.

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation, stated: “He’s incredible, a boxing machine, and a global football icon. It’s very beneficial to face these types of players. However, Norway is more than just Haaland.”

Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be 39 when the finals begin, are in Group J with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland.

Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be 39 when the finals begin, are in Group J with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland.

Croatia, the 2018 World Cup runner-up, was placed in Group D alongside World Cup qualifiers Wales and Turkey.

Denmark, another team traveling to Qatar, will face Finland, Slovenia, and Northern Ireland in Group H.

Because of the invasion of Ukraine, Russia is barred from participating in the competition.

Germany, the three-time European champion, automatically qualifies as the hosts.

The Euro 2024 finals will be held in ten German cities from June 14 to July 14, as the tournament returns to a single host country after a multi-country format in Euro 2020.