Spain are the first EURO 2024 Finalist, but rather than being a consolation to Italy it further highlights errors made by Luciano Spalleti during the tournament and especially against La Roja, writes Lorenzo Bettoni.

Spalletti and Italy players have been on holiday for more than ten days already while Spain are preparing for their third Euro Final in the last five editions.

When the Azzurri and La Roja met in Gelsenkirchen in the group stage, the technical and tactical gulf between the two sides seemed immense and only a superb performance by Gigio Donnarumma helped the Azzurri get away with a narrow defeat.

After a convincing debut against Albania, the loss to Spain was a reality check for the Azzurri and their coach, Spalletti, especially after the CT claims on the eve of the game.

We already highlighted at that time how Spalletti’s desire to “dominate proceedings” against the Spaniards was an ambitious plan that even his predecessor Roberto Mancini failed to accomplish in the Azzurri’s successful European campaign three years ago.

A thin line separates courage and arrogance and, as Fabio Capello suggested a few days ago, Spalletti crossed it against Spain and during the Euros.

The Azzurri CT wanted to show that even Italy is “an important school of football” and that his lads could play on par with La Roja. Not only it didn’t happen, but the result on the pitch was exactly the opposite. Italy wanted to play attacking football and press high, but it was so difficult to do so that they didn’t even counter-attack or produce a shot on target.

Furthermore, Italy were even tactically unorganised and disjointed and Spalletti was unable to make any tactical change that would help the defence and ease the pressure on Federico Dimarco and Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who were hammered by Lamine Yamal and MOTM Nico Williams down the flanks. Italy didn’t double-mark Spain’s wingers, exposing their left-backs. This was an evident error during the match already, and it is further highlighted now that La Roja have reached the Final.

Yamal and Nico have clearly been the best wingers in the tournament and are among the few players who are able to dribble past opponents in this tournament. How was it possible to leave Di Lorenzo and Dimarco in one-v-one situations against them for 90 minutes?

Spalletti lined up the Azzurri almost as if he were playing against no opponent. After the Spain defeat, the coach admitted for the first time that he had made a mistake by starting the same XI as in the previous match against Albania.

From that moment, however, he took exactly the opposite direction.

He not only changed the line-up for every Italy game but also made at least one substitution during half-time breaks, meaning that the Azzurri never played with the same XI for more than 45 minutes straight.

We have already analysed Spalletti’s many errors during the Euros, but ultimately, the biggest one, amplified by Spain’s qualification for the Euro Final, is that the coach didn’t really understand the skill sets of the team at his disposal. Not only because he used a four-man defence in three games from four despite including ten defenders in the team.

He didn’t realise that his players didn’t have the quality to compete on the same level as Spain. Not even France, arguably the strongest team in the tournament, won the ball possession against La Roja or was able to Palleggiare in faccia—dominate proceedings—against Rodri and his teammates.

It is no sin. Spain have been the best team in this regard for more than ten years, so Spalletti should have found a different solution once he saw that Yamal and Co. would cause trouble too easily for his lads. One may even argue that Spalletti and part of the dressing room lost certainties after such a poor performance.

We all want to see an Italian national team that plays good football, but it is impossible to do it in every match. The defeat against Spain was a nasty turning point for the Azzurri at the Euros and now that Luis de la Fuente’s boys have reached the Final, Spalletti’s errors are even more evident.

13 thought on “Spalletti’s Italy errors further highlighted by Spain’s Euro Final”
  1. Spalleti must resign immediately, I’m sorry to say that he was completely outside his comfort zone with his selections, I believe he’s created a proper headache for gravina now who realistically can’t be blamed for Spalleti’s poor coaching which was evidence that a rigid philosophy is not the model to live by.

  2. Spaletti won t change. I believe he will double down and continue with the status quo. Need certain types of players to fit a system not the other way around.

  3. Rubbish article. “Spalletti’s Italy errors further highlighted by Spain’s Euro Final”. I don’t think so. All the game last night against France highlighted, was that Spain are better than every other team at this Euros. They have beaten Croatia, Italy, Germany and now France. They deserve to be in the final. What else should we have done against them? Shut up shop and hoped to steal a point? We would still have gone out to Switzerland in the last 16.
    We are nowhere near the level of Spain at this moment in time. We need to rebuild the complete philosophy of Italian football right from the youngest age groups.

  4. The issue is not that Italy are not up to Spains level & nor is it that Italy were not up to Croatia or Switzerlands level. What highlights Italys train wreck at these Euros is that Italy looked clueless and out of their depth. It could be argued that the defending Champions were the worst team at Euro 24.

  5. Fabio C – I agree. I have high hopes after our success with age groups, especially u17. I am curious though, how many players from that team will get a chance to play in Serie A this season. If even Camarda/Liberale didn’t get minutes while the likes of Fagioli still get the call-up, then we should be worried about the next World Cup.

  6. @Fabio The article highlights the issue perfectly: inapt Spaletti . Is it arrogance or superstition or not enough time or whatever, IRRELEVANT, if you are not able to do something you are not able to do it.

    Do not shield the culprit, if you wanna do something for Spaletti, say that the players didn’t give their best, absolutely nothing else comes to help him (and if you want my sincere opinion even this was his fault: how is he not able to make them give their absolute best is beyond me).

  7. How Spalletti didn’t play 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 against Spain is crazy !

    It should have been the formation for the whole tournament, only the Albania game I can see why we was 4-2-3-1

    Italy had the squad for those two formations, his 4-3-3 attacking Napoli team that won Serie A played amazing football yes, but he should have played solid compact & what was best for his players, who clearly play that way for their clubs on a weekly basis.

  8. Think better to change the coach in 6 months if results and more importantly team does not improve – think Mancini should have been let go after we failed to qualify for World Cup and need to be more decisive as good Italian coaches and very important whilst we build a team and new generation of players come through

  9. Lorenzo what rubbish r u writing spain have been beat team in 10 years. We KOd them in 2 euro tournaments and have won nothing in 10 years. The game against germany was a gift with a non call, Not sure what u r watching.

  10. Rubbish? I m not sure what exactly you re critizing me for, aka Italian. I didn t mention Spain in my post. I m interested in the present and moving forward. Spaletti talks a good game, but in my humble opinion he tends to talk a little bit too much… talks about how gli Azzurri are going to dominate possession, press high etc… then the complete opposite happens. It s concerning to me, that s all. If the players don t respect him, we need a different manager sooner rather than later.

  11. @Lorenzo Dalecroft, I think the post comment from Italian calling out Lorenzo was referring to the Lorenzo Bettoni who is the author of the article here, not you

    Cheers 😅

  12. Lorenzo dalecroft no worries the article written that spain all of sudden is superior annoyed me. Spalletti made bad choices we need to do better. We have the best in the world unfortunately all the people running everything are against them.

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