In Leverkusen, Italy secured a crucial point against Ukraine, securing their qualification for the European Championship as defending champions. Despite a goalless draw, the game was filled with opportunities and controversy, notably a disputed penalty claim by Ukraine’s Mihajlo Mudrik after a collision with Bryan Cristante in the Italian penalty area. However, the referee did not award a penalty, and there was surprise that VAR was not consulted. Ukrainian coach Serhij Rebrov expressed disappointment, believing his team was denied a clear penalty that could have secured their place at the Euros.
The disappointment was palpable on the field as both teams searched for an elusive goal to break the deadlock. It seemed as though any player could score next, but it would ultimately be up to one of them to step forward and take a shot from 12 yards out. In this moment of tension, it was Mudrik who stepped forward and claimed to have been fouled by Cristante in the Italian penalty area. The referee did not agree with his assessment and did not award him a penalty kick.
Ukraine’s coach Serhij Rebrov disagreed with the decision and believed that his team had been wronged. He argued that Mudrik had been clearly fouled inside Italy’s penalty area and should have been awarded a penalty kick by either the referee or VAR (video assistant referee). Rebrov felt that his team had missed out on an opportunity to qualify for the European Championship through fair means, and he expressed his disappointment publicly after the match ended in a draw.
However, despite their loss in Leverkusen, Ukraine is still hopeful about qualifying for the Euros through other means. Germany is also vying for a spot through the playoffs, so both teams will need to win their remaining matches to secure their place at Europe’s biggest football tournament.