Alessandro Bastoni is confident the ‘alchemy’ with Riccardo Calafiori in the Italy defence will grow after the 2-1 win over Albania. ‘I never understood the problem with two left-footed centre-backs.’

The Azzurri had a nightmare start in Dortmund when Nadim Bajrami pounced on a weak Federico Dimarco throw-in to open the scoring after a European Championship record 23 seconds.

“Nobody expected this start, as we had a totally different game plan, then to concede like that with 50,000 of their fans in the stadium could’ve knocked us down, but we reacted well and I am very proud,” Bastoni told Sky Sport Italia.

The Inter defender nodded in a corner before Nicolò Barella got the winner from the edge of the area at the 16th minute to open EURO 2024 on the right foot.

Bastoni sees future with Calafiori

Bologna defender Calafiori was a surprise pick in defence, who only made his senior Italy debut a couple of weeks ago. Some had suggested it would not work with Bastoni because both are left-footed.

“I never understood this thing about two left-footed centre-backs being a problem, you often see two right-footed defenders and nobody complains. He is very talented and I am convinced the alchemy is on the right track.”

Bastoni was seven years old when Italy won the World Cup in Germany in 2006. Curiously, his only other Italy goal at senior level was also on German soil in the Nations League. Does he remember the World Cup triumph?

“I remember everything very well. It was a very important moment for us meeting the Number 10s at Coverciano, it really moved us. Usually people tell you to go out there fully concentrated, but they told us to enjoy our football and ignore the pressure, so it was very helpful.”

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