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Written By Onyeka Daniel

The draw for Euro 2024 tournament set to hold in the summer of next year has been made and Italy have been placed in a tough group, which was a consequence of them being placed in pot four after placing second behind England in the qualifying stage.

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For Luciano Spalletti, the draw ‘could’ve gone better’ after being paired with Spain, Croatia and Albania, but added that ‘we never forget that we are Italy. And we hope Luca Vialli will protect us.’

The Azzurri were always going to risk a terrible group after their disappointing results in qualifying saw them placed in Pot 4 for today’s draw in Hamburg and it was certainly not an easy pick of the bunch. They open with Albania on June 15 in Dortmund, then face Spain on June 20 in Gelsenkirchen before Croatia on June 24 in Leipzig.

“It could’ve gone better, but then we were in Pot 4. And never forget that we are Italy,” Spalletti told RAI Sport after the draw. Despite being the reigning Champions of Italy, having won the tournament in EURO 2020, they were given no bonus when defending their title in Germany.


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“It is difficult to make predictions now, there are many months to go. Albania have certainly proved they are well-organized, while we know a great deal will depend on our form at that moment, the preparation we manage to do going into the competition and how we work together.

“Croatia are a strong, experienced side. Some of their players are getting on a bit, but I know some of them are at the top level.” The toughest opponents on paper are Spain, who beat Italy twice in the Nations League semi-finals, but lost the EURO 2020 semi-final on penalties.

“Anyone who loves this sport must enjoy the challenge, otherwise you lose all the pleasure of it,” noted Spalletti. “Within match there are going to be various moments where the squad has to defend, even with 10 men around the edge of the box if necessary, but the intention is always to play attractive and attacking football.”

Spalletti concluded with a prayer, knowing that since the EURO 2020 victory at Wembley, Italy have lost Team Manager Gianluca Vialli. “And may Vialli protect us.” He further added. This is full group for the Euro 2024 tournament.

Group A: Germany, Hungary, Scotland, Switzerland

Group B: Spain, Albania, Croatia, Italy

Group C: England, Denmark, Slovenia, Serbia

Group D: France, Austria, Netherlands, play-off winner A

Group E: Belgium, Romania, Slovakia, play-off winner B

Group F: Portugal, Turkey, Czech Republic, play-off winner C

Meanwhile…

FIGC President Gabriele Gravina is ‘relatively satisfied’ with the EURO 2024 draw and added that ‘Italy must try to defend the title in a group that is complicated, but not impossible.’ “I think I can say that I am relatively satisfied,” Gravina told RAI Sport. “As with all draws, we hoped for a simpler situation, but it also could’ve gone worse.”

The Nazionale open their tournament in Dortmund against Albania on June 15, then face Spain in Gelsenkirchen on June 20 before the showdown with Croatia in Leipzig on June 24. “We are convinced that we can do well and Luciano Spalletti is confident we can recapture the extraordinary push from the fans, who expect an important message from the team.

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“We need the same sentiment that pushed the Azzurri to win EURO 2020, with the effort, enthusiasm and intuition of Spalletti, I am sure that together we can have another great result.”

Gravina was asked if there was a minimum target to set in Germany for Spalletti, who only took the job in September after Roberto Mancini suddenly handed in his resignation. “There cannot be a minimum target. Italy must try to defend the title in a group that is complicated, but not impossible. The first match is always the toughest, we need determination.”

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