Italy is celebrating qualification for the next European Championship foreign press an episode that would have been in favor of the Azzurri and which could otherwise have been decisive for a different ending, did not go unnoticed. The match in Leverkusen ended 0-0 (Spalletti’s men needed a draw to avoid the play-offs), but in the 93rd minute a suspicious contact between Cristante and Ukrainian striker Mudryk could have led to the national team was awarded a perhaps decisive penalty by Serhij Rebrov, a few minutes before the final whistle.
The protests and Ceferin’s words: “Italy must qualify”
Bee protests by many Ukrainians they joined in the stands the sigh of relief of protagonists such as Donnarumma and Frattesi, poorly hidden in the post-race interviews, and the unanimous opinion of the international newspapers. The fact that the Spanish referee Gil Manzano was in a good position to independently assess the action does not alleviate the controversy over the inability to resort to VAR, all in the wake of Aleksander Čeferin’s highly controversial words. “Italy must qualify for Euro 2024 or it would be a disaster,” the UEFA president said, fueling international newspapers’ bewilderment at what happened on the pitch.
Harsh response in Ukraine and England
The strongest criticism comes not only from the Ukrainian newspapers, but also from the English and American ones, where the referee was mainly criticized for not having relied on the VAR, which in turn did not regard the match director’s decision as an “obvious lying decision” assessed. wrong”. In Ukraine “Sport.ua“, one of the country’s leading sports newspapers, did not mince words about what happened: “This is how it happened avoided the disaster Ceferin feared. With this result he achieved his dream,” ironically underlining the words of the UEFA number 1. About the whole story of the race Telegraph headlines and highlights the punishment denied to the Ukrainians. «Clear contact in the areathe choice not to intervene is inexplicable. If that penalty had been taken, it would now most likely be the Azzurri who would have to play in the play-offs.” Also the English version of the German A football underlines the controversy, specifying that immediately after the episode, referee Manzano sent back the protesting Ukrainian players and took responsibility for the decision. The daily email he goes further and associates the controversial episode with the words of Ceferin, defining them as “a set of suspicious circumstances”.
If the extent of the contact is questionable, sure Cristante didn’t touch the balljust enough for the commentators of Espn and the analysts of The Athletics to at least call on the support of the VAR. A not unimportant supervision for the Video assistant referee Munuera Montero, who actually made it happen in sensational fashion, opposite an episode that could have been crucial to the final score. Ukrainian coach Rebrov, who had said on the eve of the match that he was “not interested and attached little importance to the words of the UEFA president”, openly criticized the referee’s decision. “It was a penalty, for me there is no doubt about that. It is not for me to decide, but if the VAR does not call the referee back to look at such a matter on the screen…”.
France and Spain
Other sports publications, such as the French one Rmc Sportsthey instead focused on the Azzurri’s words, as did the goalkeeper Donnarumma or Frattesi. Hotly interviewed, they said that “the punishment could also have been imposed, judging by the images”. The Inter midfielder then added that depending on the angle, the contact seemed less clear. The Spanish press, Manzano’s compatriot, is more neutral Sports world who, however, joins those who argue that the punishment was clear.
The comparisons with the mafia and Putin
After all, they are the socialbut also the Ukrainian fans themselves present in the stands of Leverkusen to celebrate more serious accusations towards arbitration. Supporters of Mudryk and his associates promptly displayed banners with the text on them «UEFA mafia», referring to an already decided outcome and a precise will, even before the match had been played. On digital platforms, in addition to the many recurring messages and tweets with the frame of Cristante-Mudryk’s contact in the foreground, also appeared the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin with the comment: «This is who was the real referee of Ukraine-Italy».
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