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Follow Luciano Spalletti and Michael Folorunsho’s pre-match press conference LIVE on the eve of Spain vs. Italy.

Italy are preparing to meet Spain in the second EURO 2024 Group B match.

Both sides won on their debut. The Azzurri beat Albania, while Spain secured a victory against Croatia.

Croatia and Albania are playing in Hamburg as we write and the outcome of their meeting will be key to both Italy and Spain.

Italy CT Spalletti and midfielder Folorunsho address the media today, Wednesday, June 19, at a press conference at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenchirken.

After that, they will return to their training base in Iserlohn, a 50-minute drive, where they will train at 17:00 CET at the Hemberg Stadium.

Italy vs Spain will kick off at 21:00 CET on Thursday, June 20, 2024.

You can follow and interact with Football Italia’s pre and post-match shows on our YouTube Channel tomorrow.

Today’s press conferences begin at 14:30 CET and you can follow them live below.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Football Italia YouTube Channel to watch and interact with during our pre and post-match shows from Germany before and after Italy games at EURO 2024.

End of the press conference.

More stories and analysis on this press conference on the Football Italia website.

Special credit: Patrick Kendrick’s simultaneous translation for UEFA.

Question Folorunsho on training base and atmosphere in Germany

“It’s wonderful. It always feels great to meet Italians all around the World. Every time we train and step out of the hotel, Italians are always there to cheer us on and we are delighted. We gave them a smile in the opening game and we want to keep the Italian people proud of us.”

Italy v Spain like a derby?

Spalletti: “It’s not a derby. But all these matches are derby. When you play at the Euros; those are all derbies. All games that won’t come along a second time. They happen once, so you need the utmost concentration. We’ll try to produce the same performance as against Albania. We want to test ourselves against the top sides like Spain to see where we are at in terms of performance levels. We try to play a positive brand of football and keep possession. I believe if you give the opposition the ball, you’ll come away the worst of the two. We’ll try to dominate proceedings from time to time. We’ll see if we’ll do a good enough job to do so.”

Italy more aggressive approach?

Spalletti: “Being aggressive means press and close them down. We will attempt to do that. There are certain times in the match when we need to figure out what to do. It all comes down to our shape as a team. It depends on which situations we find ourselves in. We want to press the opposition and we want to press them aggressively. When it comes to reacting quickly, one of the issues to make sure you need to move tidy. Otherwise, Spain won’t lose possession. You have to press them, we will try to do so and see if we are better than them in possession. The match is the sum of all these parts. If you just sit back in your penalty area, they have Rodri, and we have Jorginho, and Rodri becomes the 5th defender. If you are able to push them back, it is not the 2 wingers who become the 5th player in the defensive line; it’s Rodri. He’s able to do what the situation requires. If you put Jorginho in the penalty area, he’s no good as a 5th defender. You can keep him on the edge of the box, but in terms of physicality with a low block, you are going to have these crosses, so you need physicality and power. Otherwise, you need a different team. We are trying to put these things together.”

Spain more unpredictable?

Spalletti: “I think they are similar. This team gets the ball forward a bit more quickly, they are little more direct, but it depends on who plays as a CF. There are 3 forwards who have different skillsets. Morata is the best in running in behind. He’s not lazy. He runs a great deal. In terms of meters cover and speed, his numbers are incredible. This allows them to be more direct. Same as Yamal. He gets the ball high up the pitch, they have two wingers who like one-v-one situations and one of the issues we will encounter will be when we are able to dominate proceedings we must make sure we are in the right position for a turnover because they are deadly if you leave too much space on the counter. We’ll need a bit of both and we’ll have to see whether we are able to do so.”

Spain identity

One more for Spalletti from a Spanish reporter.

“I do really like their style. You try to pinch certain ideas and try to analyse certain things. Spanish football is attacking style. They have a number of players who press high. They’ll press our goalkeeper. So, as I said before, we must do a good job in terms of finding a free man as quickly as possible. If we don’t have a free man, we’ll be forced to make a long pass to our forward line.

“As for whether it’s the best brand of football. There are many countries that play positive attacking football and Spain are one of those, but you are not the only country to do so. We need to make progress before we can play the same brand of football.”

Italy's approach

Spalletti: “They key to opening the door and win the match comes to our performance, I am very focused on that.

“Spain are able to produce some excellent football and there will be times when we need to dig in and cope with Spain’s quality football. We need to have the right intentions. We have the utmost respect for Spain and their players but we must not think that you are better than you actually are. That would be a huge mistake. We also have an opportunity to play our game. Ultimately, we need to see if we’ll be able to do so, but we need to talk about it post-match.”

Folorunsho: “It was impossible to think to be here 12 months ago. I don’t think I could have ever imagined it. At the heart of that there is hard work. I never stopped dreaming and that drives me forward. When you get to a certain level you have to work even harder to make sure you stay there. This is just another starting point for me. I need to continue working hard.”

Spalletti again: “Spain became Spain and their school of football is known because they’ve always played the same brand. That’s how they became so recognisable. They did so because they were able to maintain the same football philosophy. We often talk about international football and different schools of thought, some more defined by schools than Italy. In order to get to that stage, you need to follow Spain’s playbook. Come up with the same philosophy again and again. Sometimes you may attack and other times we may be forced to defend in our own half, but the idea is always to try to play football.

“Spain have got everything. When it comes to individual qualities and skillsets as a team. They always do things in the same way. I am curious to see what will happen when they try to press with all 11 men from the goalkeeper, what we decide to do, and how we respond to that. I think they beat Croatia because they always pressed at the same rate. Croatia switched off on a couple of occasions and they made the most of it. But Croatia produced an excellent performance. We must keep the performance consistent, be quick in terms of reaction, acknowledge what they are trying to do and make sure they can’t just move around the pitch with the ball.”

Two more for Spalletti: possible changes and most important game?

“I’ll say the starting XI tomorrow, today is MD-1. I had no news on who’s staring for Spain, so I’ll say the line-up tomorrow.”

Most important game of his Italy career?

“I’ve been through some important game, this is right up there. We all have a story to tell and when the players get to my age, they’ll know they’ll have stories to tell. This could be one of those.”

Italy penalty taker? Question for Spalletti

“I think we’ve got several options. Scamacca, Retegui, Barella, Dimarco. Calafiori knows how to take penalties, Jorginho. You don’t have just one, but ultimately, just one can take it. One of these guys is the penalty taker.”

Question for Folorunsho

“Good afternoon. I think we are preparing for the game well; we are working hard and trying to make sure we are ready to go. As for whether I’ll start I don’t know. You need to ask the gaffer for that. I am ready to step in, and it’s already an honour for me to be here. I’d like to be there and willing to step in for the lads and the team.”

Spalletti and Folorunsho are here.

End of Spalletti’s pre-match interview with Sky. Press conference soon.

Italy opponents at the Euros

“There are always two avenues to winning and playing football. One is collective play, the other is relying on great champions who are faster and stronger than the average. Our path is the first one because we don’t have someone who is top-level and wins games single-handedly.”

Tactical approach

“I think the key is to play good football and keep possession more. Perhaps, there will be more vertical passes against Spain because they don’t wait on the edge of the box. We need vertical passes; we have said it many times.

“We must get in and see what happens. Against Spain, we will need to go beyond the defensive line because they are more aggressive. They press even the goalkeeper. Morata presses the goalkeeper as well so they’ll play with a higher line.”

Spalleti on Sky Sport Italia

“I want to see an Italy that repeats the same good performance even against one of the biggest schools of football in the world. They play good football, they have quality, they play in tight spaces and they do everything well as a team.

“Therefore, we should not take breaks and show a crazy desire to prove we are also an important school.”

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