Five things we learned from Spain vs Italy
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Five things we learned from Spain vs Italy

21/06/24 13:28

Five things we learned from Spain vs Italy

After a match totally dominated by Spain in every aspect, Group B is finally falling into place. Here’s five things we learnt from La Roja’s win over the reigning champions Italy.

Spain’s defence are shining

While most of the talk about La Roja is discussing their attacking qualities, it is the defence that has stood out, not conceding a single goal so far this tournament. The star of the clash with the Azzurri being Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella, who has a 98% passing accuracy (52/53), made three interceptions and seven recoveries. The left-back also managed to win four out of his five tackles throughout the match.

Not only are the backline proving effective for Luis de la Fuente, but also Rodri protecting the defence and keeping momentum ticking over is keeping Spain in control of each match, regardless of the opponent. After showing such a confident and dominant performance against the reigning champions, La Roja must be a favourite to go far in this tournament. However, they do need to figure out how to break down the stronger defences that they will come up against, as even though they won this match, it was only an own goal that separated the sides.

Spalletti’s tactics need shifting

The scoreline doesn’t necessarily show how much the Azzurri struggled in this match, to maintain possession, create chances, or just keep up with the energy of the youthful Spanish side. Whilst Italy have the three points they earned against Albania on matchday one, and they will most likely get out of the group, they need to change up their playing style if they want any chance of retaining their title.

The game plan from Spalletti was clear from the off, that they were going to sit back and deal with the Spanish attack head-on, and try to get any of their opportunities on the counter, but this didn’t seem to work as they still conceded a goal, albeit an unfortunate own goal, and they were unable to create more than one big chance in the entire 90 minutes. It is understandable that these tactics would be used against a side with as much attacking promise as Spain, but sometimes the best form of defence in these situations is to attack. The idea of trying to counter-attack against a team where Rodri is covering the defence doesn’t seem to work.

Own Goal pushes ahead as top scorer of the tournament

Yet another own-goal has been scored in this tournament, taking the total up to five, after Riccardo Calafiori tapped the ball into his own net off his knee from a flick on from Alvaro Morata. Own goals seem to be a common theme in recent international tournaments.

Group B has been blown wide open

After the 2-2 draw between Albania and Croatia, and Italy losing to Spain, it means that all of the teams still have a slight chance of getting into the knockout stages. Whilst Italy would still be favourites to come second in the group, they still have to come up against Croatia, who despite putting in disappointing performances so far in the tournament, certainly have the quality in their squad to cause an upset.

Spain can relax now as they have officially qualified for the round of 16 in first place of Group B, and will play their match in Cologne on Sunday 30th June, but for the rest of the teams, matchday three is massive for their future in this tournament. It is likely that whoever finishes third in this group will also qualify for the round of 16.

Matchday Three is set to be chaotic

With Italy, Croatia and Albania all competing to qualify for the round of 16, the fixtures on Monday are set to be very exciting. All three teams will be going for it, and Croatia in particular will know that if they beat Italy they will overtake them to come second in the group. Whilst a draw could also potentially get them through to the knockouts in third place, they wouldn’t want to risk the possibility of not getting through as one of the best finishing third place teams, and so you would expect to be very attacking in this game.

It is likely that both of the final fixtures of this group will be very open, and it is possible that Albania could cause a shock too. If de la Fuente chooses to rest some of his preferred starting 11, then Albania could see an opportunity to attack. Getting three points or even one from this match could get Albania into the round of 16 for the first time ever, so they will put all of their efforts into getting there.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Lily Perrill

Writer

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