Italy beat Albania 2-1 on their EURO 2024 debut, so here are three talking points from the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund.

Alessandro Bastoni and Nicolò Barella’s goals helped Italy secure a key win on Saturday, so what did we learn from the Azzurri’s EURO 2024 debut?


This is one thing Luciano Spalletti was super happy about. The CT praised his boys’ attitude at a post-match press conference. Despite conceding the fastest goal in the tournament’s history, the Azzurri hit back with two goals in 16 minutes. Most importantly, they dominated possession and pushed Albania inside their own half for a big part of the game. There is, of course, a technical gap between Italy and Albania, but the Azzurri found themselves in the worst possible situation last night. The stadium was filled with red shirts, more than 50,000 fans were from Albania and the noise after their opening goal was unbelievable. As Federico Chiesa pointed out, some Italy players had been there before, conceding an early goal in a European Final against England at Wembley Stadium only three years before but still managing to turn things around, winning the game and the trophy.

Dominance and regrets

Italy clearly deserved to win the match but they should have killed off the game earlier. With Riccardo Calafiori and Alessandro Bastoni in central defence, the Azzurri could rely on so many playmakers in their team. Albania struggled to cover all the passing lanes at some point because any Italian player could provide a key pass in the final third. Calafiori only made his senior debut ten days ago, but he played like a veteran against Albania, and his support to the build-up was nothing short of impressive. Jorginho was the perfect Regista and Barella did pretty much everything in the middle of the park: key passes, battles, late runs and a vital goal. On the other hand, however, Italy should have killed off the game earlier. Spalletti’s men had at least three clear chances to score one more goal in the first half, and they had to thank Gigio Donnarumma for a super save in the dying minutes, which avoided a draw that would have been frankly undeserved.


Italy dominated the match and deserved to win, as we already said. However, there are a few recurrent errors that Spalletti no longer wants to see. The CT explained after the match that players must understand when they can’t build up from the back and need to play a long pass instead or make a cross-field pass to get rid of the ball in a dangerous situation. Albania’s opening goal came from a poor Federico Dimaro throw in and, coincidentally, the Inter star had made two similar errors in the last game before EURO 2024 against Bosnia and Herzegovina last week. Consistency and attention to detail will be key this month, especially in games against bigger opponents, so the Azzurri must either kill off games earlier or avoid silly errors that can potentially be deadly, but the early signs are indeed positive.



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