Italy vs Albania EURO 2024 Group B Matchday 1 preview: Where to watch, kick-off time, possible line-ups

When is it? How can you watch it? What are the possible line-ups? All you need to know about the UEFA EURO 2024 Group B match between Italy and Albania.

taly’s Gianluca Scamacca and Albania’s Jasir Asani

Italy and Albania meet in their first match of UEFA EURO 2024 in Group B on Saturday 15 June.I

taly vs Albania at a glance

When: Saturday 15 June (21:00 CET kick-off) (16:00 Suriname time)
Where: BVB Stadion Dortmund
What: UEFA EURO 2024 Group B Matchday 1

What do you need to know?
Italy’s past record against Albania suggests that this should be a comfortable start to the EURO for the reigning champions: the sides have met four times, all since November 2014, and the Azzurri have won all those matches, scoring seven goals and conceding just one. However, with a significant proportion of Sylvinho’s squad playing in Serie A, Albania know their opponents well.

Back at the EURO after making their finals debut in 2016, Albania topped a qualifying group for a major tournament for the first time in their history. Italy finished behind England in their qualifying group, but with forward Gianluca Scamacca likely to lead the line after a UEFA Europa League-winning campaign with Atalanta, they may be ready to rise to the occasion again at the finals.

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Possible line-ups

Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bastoni, Calafiori, Dimarco; Barella, Jorginho; Chiesa, Frattesi, Pellegrini; Scamacca

Albania: Berisha; Hysaj, Djimsiti, Ajeti, Mitaj; Asllani, Ramadani, Bajrami; Seferi, Asani, Broja

Form guide

Form (all competitions, most recent first): WDWWDW

Form (all competitions, most recent first): WWLLDD

Expert predictions

Paolo Menicucci, Italy reporter

The reigning champions are determined to defend their title despite the scepticism surrounding the team after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup two years ago. While the midfield is pretty similar to the one which helped win the title three years ago, the Azzurri have found fresh talents in defence to replace old lions like Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, while Gianluca Scamacca’s recent form could be the perfect answer to the doubts surrounding the attack.

Egi Duro, Albania reporter

As Albania gear up for their second EURO, coach Sylvinho has instilled a sense of optimism as well as tactical discipline into the squad. The Brazilian, who took over in January 2023, led the team through a challenging qualifying campaign. His dynamic 4-3-3 formation transitions swiftly to a 4-5-1 when defending, showcasing Albania’s adaptability and resilience. Key players like Berat Djimsiti, who brings defensive solidity, and forward Armando Broja are expected to play pivotal roles.

What the coaches say

Luciano Spalletti, Italy coach: “Coming to the tournament as defending champions is an advantage. But we need to understand straight away that we need to behave like defending champions. We need to convince ourselves, not only the fans. In a way, we are facing ourselves, not the outside world. We need to show what we are made of, to show what we have inside. This is a tricky match. Sylvinho has done a very good job with a host of quality players, many of whom we know from Serie A.”

Sylvinho, Albania coach: “We’ve built a team that plays with heart and intelligence. Each player understands their role and the collective goal we are striving for. Facing teams like Italy, Croatia and Spain is a huge challenge, but it’s also an incredible opportunity to show our progress and make our nation proud. Broja’s speed and technical ability will be crucial for us. His ability to exploit spaces could be a game-changer.”

Featured images: taly’s Gianluca Scamacca and Albania’s Jasir Asani

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