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Written by Patrick Echatah

Italy will begin their Euro 2024 campaign on Saturday night against Group B foes Albania, where they will begin their European title defence. The Azzurri’s ultimate goal is to defend their title, whereas, Albania only want to make it out of the group in their second big tournament appearance.

Preview

Italy are competing in their eleventh European Championship; it is left to be seen if they can retain the trophy in Berlin next month. They can equal Germany and Spain for the most titles with three. They’ll also aim to follow in the footsteps of their Spanish counterpart who successfully defended their title in 2012. Still, few pundits think Luciano Spalletti’s side can go all the way.

Albania topped their group in spectacular fashion, after losing to Poland in their first match, they went on to win their next seven games to finish ahead of both the Poland and Czech Republic, who came in second. Nevertheless, the Euro 2024 draw did not go their way, and they will be playing their first match against some well-known opponents—nine players from the Albanian national team ply their trade in Serie A.

Head To Head

Italy and Albania have played in 3 official games. Spalletti’s side have won all 3. Albania on the other hand can only boast about scoring one goal against Gli Azzurri.

Players To Watch

Throughout qualification, Nicolo Barella produced more chances and assists than any other Italian player.

Following a difficult period at club level, Armando Broja will lead the Albanian frontline.

Verdict

This match will feel high-stakes because of the calibre of the other teams in a strong Group B. So, it should be a nervous and circumspect affair. One goal might determine the fate of the points, and Italy has enough experience to edge off a close victory.

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