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Euro 2024: Italy vs Albania - Three key battles to watch in this clash

As Italy gears up for their Euro 2024 opener against Albania, key battles on the pitch will be crucial in determining the outcome of this highly anticipated Group B clash. With Italy defending their 2021 title, fans are eager to see how the Azzurri will fare against a determined Albania side.

Euro 2024: Italy vs Albania - Three key battles to watch in this clash osf
First Published Jun 15, 2024, 10:09 PM IST

Luciano Spalletti’s Italy is ready for their Euro 2024 opener against a hopeful Albania, and three key battles on the pitch could decide the match. The Azzurri’s clash with the Kuqezinjtë kicks off at 20:00 UK time at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund. Around 50,000 Albania fans are expected to attend, far more than the 10,000 travelling Italy fans.

Italy and Albania find themselves in Group B alongside Spain and Croatia, making their opening game vitally important as both sides look to find a way to the knockout stages. Much is expected of the Azzurri, who enter as defending champions following their success in 2021.

Italy vs Albania – Three Key Battles

Page 11 of today’s Gazzetta dello Sport highlighted three key battles on the pitch between Italy and Albania, starting with the matchup between defender Alessandro Bastoni and striker Armando Broja.

1. Alessandro Bastoni vs. Armando Broja

The Inter man will be tasked with stopping the Chelsea striker, who is considered to be one of the Kuqezinjtë’s most important players at the tournament. While collective marking will come into play, much depends on the Italian defender’s ability to limit the 22-year-old.

Clever tackles, strong positioning, and confident physicality will be needed by Bastoni to try and limit the danger from Broja, who is used to a fast-moving game thanks to his experiences in the Premier League.

2. Gianluca Scamacca vs. Berat Djimsiti

The second key battle in Italy’s clash with Albania is between Atalanta teammates Gianluca Scamacca and Berat Djimsiti, two players who know each other well from their year together in Bergamo.

The Azzurri striker is able to play a double role as both a traditional number nine and a forward who is willing to drop deep and link up play, setting up an interesting challenge for the Albania defender.

Djimsiti is expected to stick closely to Scamacca on the pitch, essentially playing man-to-man, but this could prove to be a benefit to Italy as it’ll open up some space at the back, allowing players like Davide Frattesi, Federico Chiesa, and Lorenzo Pellegrini to slip in.

3. Jorginho vs. Nedim Bajrami

The final battle that could prove decisive in Italy’s clash with Albania will take place in the midfield, where Arsenal’s Jorginho will match up against Sassuolo’s Nedim Bajrami.

While the former could count on Marco Verratti during the successful Euro 2020 campaign, he now risks finding himself isolated as a sole playmaker, staying behind as Nicolo Barella charges forward. His Albania counterpart will be there to apply the pressure and try to limit his influence.

Jorginho’s ability to come out on top against Bajrami seemingly depends on his ability to link up with his teammates like Federico Dimarco and Riccardo Calafiori. The Italian will also have to be a little more mobile once the Sassuolo man is on the ball in order to stop a possible two-on-two scenario involving Broja.

These matchups will be crucial in determining the outcome of this vital Euro 2024 opener, setting the stage for what promises to be an intense and closely fought encounter.

Also Read: Euro 2024: Switzerland withstand late Hungary charge to secure victory their opening match

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