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Saturday, 18 November 2023 10:15

Italy beats North Macedonia and needs a point against Ukraine to qualify for Euro 2024.

Staff Reporter.

Defending champions Italy beat North Macedonia 5-2 on Friday to gain a measure of revenge and move closer to qualifying for the European Championship.

Needing a victory to ensure a point against Ukraine on Monday will be enough to secure their place in Germany next year, the Italians took the lead through Matteo Darmian's header.

Arsenal's Jorginho missed a penalty but a Federico Chiesa double made it 3-0.

"The important thing is that we won the game. Unfortunately, we conceded two goals that overall I don’t think we deserved to let in, but now we will fight it out directly with Ukraine," Chiesa said. "We showed that we wanted to dominate the match and we deserved the victory."

Jani Atanasov scored twice for North Macedonia but Giacomo Raspadori and Stephan El Shaarawy wrapped up the win.

Italy and Ukraine now each have 13 points but Italy holds the advantage after beating Ukraine 2-1 in September.

England, which beat Malta 2-0 and has 19 points, won the group.

North Macedonia trails in fourth place with seven points and Malta has zero.

Ukraine will host Italy in Germany — at the stadium of Bundesliga leader Bayer Leverkusen — because it cannot play international games at home for security reasons during the military invasion by Russia.