Italy’s loss to Spain in the second group stage game at EURO 2024 means the Azzurri still need just one point to qualify for the Round of 16. But what did we learn from their painful defeat against La Roja?

Italy failed to produce a single shot on target in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday night and even Luciano Spalletti admitted after the final whistle that Spain caused the Azzurri more problems than the scoreline suggested.

Italy’s destiny is still in their hands, but last night’s loss was still a huge blow, especially for how the game unfolded. Here are three talking points.

Spalletti’s plan ruined

The CT wanted to “dominate proceedings” and hoped to show a similar playing style to Spain’s. However, the Azzurri never were really dangerous, and even if the plan was to keep the ball and play attacking football, the result on the pitch was exactly the opposite. Italy produced a defensive performance and were unable to press high or deal with La Roja’s counter-pressing. The initial plan was ambitious, perhaps too much. This doesn’t mean Italy should have just sat back but, as Spalletti also admitted, he may have needed a few changes and rested players to cope with Spain’s intensity, something that Italy partially did only in the last 20 minutes.

Don’t shoot Calafiori

Less than a week ago, fans and pundits on social media compared him to Paolo Maldini. This time around, some may say he’s the new Cristian Zaccardo, another Italian defender with long hair who scored an own goal in the second match of a major tournament, the 2006 World Cup won by the Azzurri. To be fair, Calafiori, just like Zaccardo nearly 20 years ago, was quite unlucky with that own goal and reacted to it with great determination and with the same personality we saw against Albania and during the whole season with Bologna. Calafiori wasn’t the best defender in the world after Italy’s EURO 2024 debut and isn’t the worst centre-back now. Balance is needed when judging him and the whole Azzurri squad, which is still pretty inexperienced.

Di Lorenzo’s nightmare

Spalletti refused to blame any individual on his team. He said everyone had a bad day at the office and took responsibility for some decisions that didn’t work out. However, there’s no doubt that Giovanni Di Lorenzo had the worst performance in the game among all the players involved. Nico Williams was the MOTM and gave absolute nightmares to the Azzuri defender. Spalletti tried to protect him a little bit more in the second half by introducing Andrea Cambiaso, but the Juventus defender was also blown away by Spain’s pressing. Italian media are blaming Spalletti for not replacing Di Lorenzo at the end of the first half, as he did with Jorginho and Davide Frattesi, but probably what both Di Lorenzo and Federico Dimarco needed was to have an extra player helping them defensively to avoid one-v-one situations on the flanks for 90 minutes.

One thought on “EURO 2024: Three Italy talking points from 1-0 loss to Spain”
  1. they don’t mention the 4th talking point..Italy needs intense futsal training to learn better ball skills..they cannot hold the ball..or they should master counter attacks..counter attacks beat pep calcio every time

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