Italy 2-1 Albania: Azzurri recover from shock start

Luciano Spalletti’s charges recovered from conceding a record-breaking goal inside 23 seconds to begin their title defence at UEFA EURO 2024 with an impressive victory.

Italy celebrate Nicolò Barella’s stunning goal to make it 2-1 Getty Images

Key moments

1′ Bajrami scores fastest ever EURO goal
11′ Bastoni header levels following corner
16′ Barella’s fine goal completes turnabout
33′ Strakosha turns Frattesi dink on to post
90′ Effort from sub Manaj drops just wide

Match in brief: Azzurri show mettle.

Alessandro Bastoni celebrates his equaliser AFP via Getty Images

Ultimately Italy were good value for their win but it was Albania who rocketed out of the blocks. The match was not 23 seconds old, with the deafening pre-match anthems still echoing around the BVB Stadion Dortmund, when Nedim Bajrami seized upon Federico Dimarco’s wayward throw and fired in.

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Albania’s dream start was the stuff of nightmares for the Azzurri, but the holders’ response was superlative – within 15 minutes they were in front. First Alessandro Bastoni rose imperiously to head in following a short corner before Nicolò Barella’s stunning first-time strike completed the turnaround.

So far, so frenetic. With their noses in front, Italy calmed things down, passing Albania into submission before hitting fast and hard. Thomas Strakosha kept the underdogs in it, denying the lively Gianluca Scamacca and brilliantly turning Nicolò Fagioli’s effort on to the post.

And there was almost a shock finish to match the start, Albania substitute Rey Manaj clipping a late effort just wide, but the holders are up and running.

Vivo Player of the Match: Federico Chiesa (Italy)

Federico Chiesa is the latest player to have been named Player of the Match at UEFA EURO 2024 after helping Italy secure a 2-1 comeback victory against Albania.

Matchday 1
14/06: Germany 5-1 Scotland – Jamal Musiala
15/06: Hungary 1-3 Switzerland – Granit Xhaka
15/06: Spain 3-0 Croatia – Fabián Ruiz
15/06: Italy 2-1 Albania – Federico Chiesa
16/06: Poland vs Netherlands –
16/06: Slovenia vs Denmark –
16/06: Serbia vs England –
17/06: Romania vs Ukraine –
17/06: Belgium vs Slovakia –
17/06: Austria vs France –
18/06: Türkiye vs Georgia –
18/06: Portugal vs Czechia –

Matchday 2
19/06: Croatia vs Albania –
19/06: Germany vs Hungary –
19/06: Scotland vs Switzerland –
20/06: Slovenia vs Serbia –
20/06: Denmark vs England –
20/06: Spain vs Italy –
21/06: Slovakia vs Ukraine –
21/06: Poland vs Austria –
21/06: Netherlands vs France –
22/06: Georgia vs Czechia –
22/06: Türkiye vs Portugal –
22/06: Belgium vs Romania –

Matchday 3
23/06: Switzerland vs Germany –
23/06: Scotland vs Hungary –
24/06: Croatia vs Italy –
24/06: Albania vs Spain –
25/06: Netherlands vs Austria –
25/06: France vs Poland –
25/06: England vs Slovenia –
25/06: Denmark vs Serbia –
26/06: Slovakia vs Romania –
26/06: Ukraine vs Belgium –
26/06: Czechia vs Türkiye –

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Featured images: Italy celebrate Nicolò Barella’s stunning goal to make it 2-1 | Getty Images

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