Italy Euro 2024 squad, predicted line-up versus Albania, latest odds and star players

6 days ago 14

THEY are reigning champs and have a habit of defying the odds – yet little is expected of this Azzurri side.

At least they qualified, given a nasty recent habit of missing major tournaments.

Rex
Italy come into Euro 2024 with plenty of question marks[/caption]

But even that was not exactly comfortable as they finished narrowly above Ukraine and well below table-toppers England.

Veteran boss Luciano Spalletti, 65, will have to use all his experience given the lack of quality at his disposal.

Up front, in particular, is an issue with former West Ham flop Gianluca Scamacca likely to start No 9.

Sandro Tonali’s betting suspension hampers them in midfield.

They won it last time but the view back on the Boot is if they make it out of the group, they will have done just fine.

Manager: Luciano Spalletti 

The veteran tactician won’t stand for any nonsense.

Spalletti has already clamped down on the time his squad spends on the PlayStation.

But the 65-year-old is no dinosaur tactically and his teams are not to be taken lightly.

AP
Luciano Spalletti struggled in qualfying[/caption]

Key man: Gianluigi Donnarumma

The only genuine superstar in the squad has had an up-and-down year at Paris Saint-Germain.

But the big man remains elite – as England know only too well from the last final.

Likely line-up

Italy have a solid back three in front of Donnarumma, with width coming from their wing-backs.

Jorginho and Nicolo Barella will be tasked with controlling the centre of the park and getting the ball to Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Pellegrini.

Scamacca and Napoli striker Giacomo Raspadori are two options up front.

The former is a physical threat while Raspadori is two-footed and offers solid technique but has never been a prolific goalscorer.

How they attack

Under Spaletti, we can expect to see an Italian side that are effective and dogged from a defensive perspective but who are also flexible and fun to watch in possession.

They will build from the back using intelligent structures to play through the opposition press.

Italy will typically use Napoli right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzi as a third central defender.

And Federico Dimarco, who plays as a left wing-back, will move higher and come inside.

Dimarco moves into a midfield position from wing-back

Italy are patient and composed and they create patterns that help them to play through pressure.

They are not limited to one style of play.

When the opportunity comes they can attack in a much more direct way.

Federico Chiesa is released to run into space as the midfield progress the ball quickly

As the Italians win possession centrally they often take the high risk option and quickly look for opportunities to release runners wide.

As they progress and attack into the final third we will see Italy shift the ball into wide areas.

They want to create chances to attack the opposition full-back and break into the opposition area.

Zaniolo takes possession wide we see Di Lorenzo make a long run around the outside to provide width

How they defend

Italy are not as deep a defensive side as we have perhaps seen in the past.

Instead they will look to be proactive and modern in the way that they look to press and work out of possession.

Their two wide forwards, who can look to play in a more narrow position, in particular will work and press along with the forward player to disrupt the opposition attack.

Italy press the Ukraine defence high and as a wave

The striker goes first and presses alone and as soon as the opposition play a poor pass we see the second player join in.

When the ball is forced wide the third player then joins and Italy have the opposition pressed in.

When they do move high and look to press in the opposition half we will typically see them press and work in a man-to-man style.

This means they take away passing lanes and options for the opposition players.

Italy press high and the opposition player in possession does not have an easy option to play into

Pressing and marking man to man in this way can be dangerous if the opposition can play through the initial press.

Italy, however, are willing to be aggressive in terms of continuing to man mark when the ball is played through.

Even when the opposition beat the intial press, the Italians work hard to force their rivals backwards.

England pass their way through the initial press but the player receiving the ball is forced to play backwards as they cannot turn

Prediction

Italy struggled in qualifying and face a huge test to get out of their group.

Should they manage to top the pile ahead of Spain, Croatia and Albania, they would face one of the best third-placed teams in the last 16.

Germany would be potential quarter-final opponents with Portugal and the Netherlands potentially lying in wait in the semis.

Finishing second would likely see Italy take on Hungary or Switzerland – providing neither stun Germany – and a potential last-eight clash with England in what would be a fiery grudge match.

Latest odds

Italy are among the favourites to win Euro 2024 despite their poor qualifying campaign.

They are 16-1 with William Hill – behind England, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain.

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Wags and glam fans

Gorgeous Chiara Nasti, 25, has modelled for Armani and is a renowned fashion influencer with two million followers online.

She is married to Mattia Zaccagni, and they welcomed their first son together in 2022 called Thiago.

Awkwardly, Chiara used to date Italy teammate Nicola Zaniolo, which delighted rival fans.

Federico Chiesa’s girlfriend Lucia Bramani has been described by football fans as the ‘most beautiful woman in the world.’

Gianluigi Donnarumma’s wife Alessia Elefante is certainly in safe hands with the Italian No1.

Camilla Bresciani is the wife of defensive stalwart Alessandro Bastoni.

Instagram / @nastilove
Chiara Nasti is married to Mattia Zaccagni[/caption]
Instagram @nastilove
The pair have a son together[/caption]
Instagram @nastilove
Chiara Nasti used to date Nicolo Zaniolo[/caption]
Instagram
Lucia Bramani has won the hearts of football fans[/caption]
INSTAGRAM
She is set to sizzle in the stands this summer[/caption]
Getty
Gianluigi Donnarumma is married to Alessia Elefante[/caption]
Instagram / @alessiaelefante
The stunner poses with her beloved pooch[/caption]
INSTAGRAM
Camilla Bresciani is the wife of Alessandro Bastoni[/caption]
instagram @ juliette_pastore
Sandro Tonali’s partner Juliette Pastore may turn up as a fan despite his absence[/caption]
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