Euro 2024 Group B Preview: Holders Italy Face Stern Spain & Croatia Test In 'Group Of Death'

Three time champions Spain have been clubbed with current holders Italy alongside Croatia and Albania in the Group B in Euro 2024. Who will
Will Italy defy the odds in Euro 2024_

Will Italy defy the odds in Euro 2024_

Photo : AP
The UEFA Euro 2024 is almost knocking on the door. The draw for the tournament saw 24 teams divided into six groups and Group B certainly emerged as one of the most interesting ones.
Three time European champions Spain are joined by current Euro holders Italy alongside Croatia and rapidly emerging Albania. Let’s deep dive into the Group B teams as we will analyse their chances of making it to the round of 16 in Euro 2024.
Italy
From not qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to taming England down to win the Euro 2020, Italy have witnessed everything in the last few years. Following Roberto Mancini’s departure, Luciano Spalletti took over the charge and he will now have the chance to prove his worth as the showpiece event has almost arrived.
Italy haven’t been the natural scoring team as defence has been their bedrock for success. This time too the likes of Federico Dimarco and Giovanni Di Lorenzo will be the focal points while Andrea Cambiaso could be a surprising element.
Player to watch out for: Alessandro Bastoni
Squad
Goalkeepers: Gigi Donnarumma (PSG), Guglielmo Vicario (Tottenham), Alex Meret (Napoli)
Defenders: Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Matteo Darmian (Inter), Alessandro Buongiorno (Torino), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), Riccardo Calafiori (Bologna), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Raoul Bellanova (Torino), Federico Dimarco (Inter), Andrea Cambiaso (Juventus), Federico Gatti (Juventus)
Midfielders: Nicolo Barella (Inter), Davide Frattesi (Inter), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Nicolo Fagioli (Juventus), Jorginho (Arsenal), Michael Folorunsho (Hellas Verona)
Forwards: Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Giacomo Raspadori (Napoli), Mateo Retegui (Genoa), Gianluca Scamacca (Atalanta), Mattia Zaccagni (Lazio), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma)
Spain
Spain will be the favourites to get into the round of 16 from Group B. Barring the two penalty shootout defeats in Euros, they have a pretty impeccable record in the tournament having lost only two in their previous 22 matches. But as a matter of fact those two defeats came against Croatia and Italy respectively, their opponents in the Group B.
They have match winners in every departmenet. Rodri is unarguably the greatest holding midfielder in the world currently but for the La Roja defence could be a concern as apart from Aymeric Laporte, they lack a leader in that department.
Lamine Yamal has certainly impressed while the likes of Dani Olmo, Nico Williams and Alvaro Morata can wreak havocs on their day.
Player to watch out for: Rodri
Squad
Goalkeepers: Alex Remiro (Real Sociedad), David Raya (Arsenal), Unai Simon (Athletic Club)
Defenders: Aymeric Laporte (Al Nassr), Robin Le Normand (Real Sociedad), Alex Grimaldo (Bayer Leverkusen), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Dani Vivian (Athletic Club), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Nacho (Real Madrid), Marc Cucurella (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Fabian Ruiz (PSG), Alex Baena (Villarreal), Martin Zubimendi (Real Sociedad), Rodri (Manchester City), Pedri (Barcelona), Fermin Lopez (Barcelona)
Forwards: Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Joselu (Real Madrid), Lamine Yamal (Barcelona), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Ayoze Perez (Real Betis), Ferran Torres (Barcelona), Nico Williams (Athletic Club)
Croatia
At the age of 38, Luka Modric still holds the key to Croatia’s success as it stands. The veteran will lead a strong and competitive contingent of Croatian players who have had the knack of knocking their opponents out of the perch.
Midfield will certainly be Croatia’s strong point as Modric will be accompanied by Mateo Kova?i?, and Marcelo Brozovic in the middle of the pitch. Manchester City defender Josko Gvardiol will be relied on heavily while Ivan Perisic will offer his expertise in the attacking third.
Croatia’s performance on the European stage has not been satisfactory and they will be gunning to topple their opponents this time.
Player to watch out for:
Squad
Goalkeepers: Dominik Livakovic (Fenerbahce), Ivica Ivusic (Pafos), Nediljko Labrovic (Rijeka)
Defenders: Domagoj Vida (AEK Athens), Josip Juranovic (Union Berlin), Josko Gvardiol (Manchester City), Borna Sosa (Ajax), Josip Stanisic (Bayer Leverkusen), Josip Sutalo (Ajax), Martin Erlic (Sassuolo), Marin Pongracic (Lecce)
Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Manchester City), Marcelo Brozovic (Al Nassr), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta), Nikola Vlasic (Torino), Lovro Majer (Wolsfburg), Luka Ivanusec (Feyenoord), Luka Sucic (RB Salzburg), Martin Baturina (Dinamo Zagreb)
Forwards: Ivan Perisic (Hajduk Split), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Bruno Petkovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Marko Pjaca (Rijeka), Ante Budimir (Osasuna), Marco Pasalic (Rijeka)
Albania
Albania cannot be taken for granted definitely. This will be their second major tournament in their history and they will definitely fancy their chances this time. They topped their qualification group ahead of Czech Republic and Poland, but they have to navigate their way which is a pretty monumental task.
They do have some big names with the likes of Armando Broja and Lazio defender Elseid Hysaj in their ranks. But to execute their plans on the pitch they would need to finetune their preparations as they are yet to defeat Italy and Spain respectively in their previous encounters.
Player to watch out for: Armando Broja
Squad
Goalkeepers: Etrit Berisha (Empoli), Thomas Strakosha (Brentford), Elhan Kastrati (Cittadella)
Defenders: Ivan Balliu (Rayo Vallecano), Mario Mitaj (Loko Moscow), Elseid Hysaj (Lazio), Arlind Ajeti (Cluj), Berat Djimsiti (Atalanta), Enea Mihaj (Famalicao), Ardian Ismajli (Empoli), Marash Kumbulla (Sassuolo), Naser Aliji (Voluntari)
Midfielders: Medon Berisha (Lecce), Klaus Gjasula (Darmstadt), Nedim Bajrami (Sassuolo), Qazim Laci (Sparta Prague), Ernest Muci (Besiktas), Ylber Ramadani (Lecce), Kristjan Asllani (Inter Milan), Amir Abrashi (Grasshoppers)
Forwards: Jasir Asani (Gwangju), Rey Manaj (Sivasspor), Taulant Seferi (Baniyas), Armando Broja (Fulham), Mirlind Daku (Rubin Kazan), Arber Hoxha (Dinamo Zagreb)

Euro 2024 Group B fixtures

15 June
Spain vs Croatia (Berlin) 9 PM IST
16 June
Italy vs Albania (Dortmund) 12:30 AM IST
19 June
Croatia vs Albania (Hamburg) 6:30 PM IST
21 June
Spain vs Italy (Gelsenkirchen) 12:30 AM IST
25 June
Albania vs Spain (Dusseldorf) 12:30 AM IST
Croatia vs Italy (Leipzig) 12:30 AM IST
End of Article
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