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Football | Tuesday, June 4, 2024 1:07 PM (Revised at: Saturday, June 15, 2024 7:08 AM)

Italy vs Albania Prediction: Euro 2024 Team News and Lineups Preview

Italy vs Albania Prediction: Euro 2024 Team News and Lineups Preview
dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo: Gianluigi DONNARUMMA, Italy

The Azzurri will make their Euro 2024 debut on Saturday 15th June and a little earlier than usual in this Early Bird write-up, Italian football expert, Daniele Fisichella, has prepared an Italy vs Albania prediction, team news, lineups and fixtures preview. 

Prediction: Italy 1-0 Albania

The holders are looking to start their campaign as they did three years ago, when they achieved a resounding victory over Turkey. Albania are taking part for the second time ever to a major tournament but they qualified in style, by topping the group ahead of Poland and Czech Republic.  

Last updated: June 14th, 2024.

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Our guide takes a different approach to any other tournament preview. The analysis and insight you’ll find in the document is based on our in-house betting data which goes back decades. This betting data is on the following markets:

  • Match Result (1X2)
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Italy vs Albania Prediction 1: A big task for Spalletti

Euro 2024, Group B, Match Day 1, Saturday 15th June, 20:00 (UK)

Starting with a win will be crucial for Italy, given they’re in a very tough group with Spain and Croatia, both nations in the FIFA top-10 rankings. 

The first match is, on paper, the easiest game for the Azzurri, considering that Albania are the second lowest ranked team, always according to FIFA, of this tournament. 

But Italy are a side in transition and achieved qualification to Germany only in the last game and in controversial circumstances (Ukraine should have had a last-minute penalty that could have sent Italy to the dreaded play-offs). 

The debut at the Euro will be Luciano Spalletti’s ninth game in charge of the Italian national team that has only lost one match (3-1 against England), but apart from Gareth Southgate’s men hasn’t, so far, faced any side of high calibre. 

Like three years ago, Italy don’t have a world class player in their ranks and would need to compensate for that with organisation, style of play and will to help each other. 

All elements that Spalletti is working to re-establish in a national side that lost enthusiasm and self-belief after the victory at Wembley. 

The absence of a top striker, although Gianluca Scamacca is in the form of his life (12 goals since March), and Albania’s lack of international experience also suggests Italy’s debut might not be a goal fest. 

  • Italy vs Albania Prediction 1: Under 2.5 Goals  (TRACKED BET)
  • Best Odds: 1.90
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 7/10

Italy vs Albania Prediction 2: Two sides that know each other well

Underestimate Albania at your peril. Since last September they’ve been managed by former Arsenal and Barcelona defender Sylvinho, providing a great story throughout the qualifiers. 

The Brazil assistant coach worked both on the training ground, by switching the team’s set up to a more attacking 4-2-3-1, but also on the board room, by encouraging the Tirana’s FA to cast their net far and wide in order to find players of Albanian descent around the world. 

The results have been immediate, with the likes of North Macedonian-born Jasir Asani, who plays in Japan and scored three key goals in qualifiers, and Mirlind Daku, who until 2022 had played at international level for Kosovo, also contributing with a vital goal against Poland. 

The Kuqezinjtë (Red and Blacks) are mix of youth (Kristjan Asllani, Armando Broja) and experience (goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha as well as defenders Ivan Balliu and Europa League winner Berat Djimsiti), and might take to the Euros up to 10 men who play in Italy. 

In March, Albania have lost two friendlies, against Chile and Sweden, without scoring, but they’ve only been defeated once in the qualifiers (1-0 by Poland), and only suffered one heavy defeat (5-0 against England in the World Cup qualifiers) in the last three years. 

  • Italy vs Albania Prediction 2: Albania Asian Handicap + 1.25  (TRACKED BET)
  • Best Odds: 2.01
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 4/10

Italy vs Albania Prediction 3: First, don’t lose

Albania have demonstrated during the qualifying campaign they are no pushovers, but their main objective remains to arrive to the last game of the group stage, against Spain, with chances to qualify, perhaps as one of the four best third-placed teams. 

Three points could be enough to make it into the Round of 16, as long Sylvnho’s side won’t suffer any heavy defeat that would compromise their goal difference. 

The old cliché ‘don’t lose your first game’ might well apply to Albania for this match in Dortmund. 

For their debut, they might ditch the possession and try to keep it extremely tight, as they did in 2016 in their first game, in which they lost 1-0 against Switzerland. 

Italy, on the other hand, doesn’t look like a team that can sweep the opposition away, but given the extremely low odds for their success in this first match, betting on them starting on the front foot might be a good option. 

Bearing in mind the Azzurri have got some issues at the back, as they’ve lost both center-backs Francesco Acerbi and Giorgio Scalvini to injuries, and it is not yet totally clear which formation Spalletti will decide to use.

  • Italy vs Albania Prediction: Half Time Result: Itay (TRACKED BET)
  • Best Odds: 1.90
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 4/10

Italy vs Albania Prediction odds via bet365 as at 06:48, June 3rd, 2024. Odds may now differ.

Player to watch: Nicolo Barella

Nation: Italy
Club: Inter Milan
Position: Midfield
Selection: Nicolo Barella over 0.5 Assists
Bookmaker: bet365
Odds: 5.00

The holders play the late game on day two of Euro 2024. Italy face Albania in Group B knowing there aren’t many chances to slip up in a group featuring Croatia and Spain.

Those who’ve watched Barella star for Inter in another Scudetto-winning season will attest that the midfielder can do a bit of everything. For Inter, he’s an all-action, box-to-box, never-tiring complete midfielder. His defensive work is rarely neglected but Barella is fully capable of carrying and driving with the ball.

Nicolo Barella of Italy seen in action

For Italy, Barella takes on a more creative role. With Jorginho and Davide Frattesi in the squad, the Azzurri can utilise Barella’s ability with the ball. He was the chief creator for Luciano Spalletti’s side in the lead-up to this tournament. The Inter man registered three assists in qualifying, averaging 0.48 every 90 minutes. He also created an additional 12 chances – 15 in total. That was more than twice as many as any other player for the Azzurri.

I originally looked at Barella to score or assist in this game vs Albania at 2.75. The midfielder found the net on his most recent appearance for Italy but that was his first goal for his nation in the last two years.

It’s better to take the goal out of the bet and just include an assist. Barella set up two of Italy’s goals at Euro 2020. He’s done before in this team so odds of 5.00 for him to get at least one assist in this very winnable match offers great value.

Italy vs Albania Team News and Possible Lineups: a strong Inter block for Spalletti

Luciano Spalletti will probably use a 3-5-2 system for Italy’s debut with four Inter Milan players in the starting line-up: Darmian, Bastoni, Barella and Dimarco. Torino’s Buongiorno will play in the centre of the defence, given the absence of Acerbi and Scalvini. Jorginho will be the playmaker with Lorenzo Pellegrini in support of the two strikers, Federico Chiesa and Gianluca Scamacca. 

Plenty of Serie A players will feature for Albania, starting with the goalkeeper, Empoli’s Etrit Berisha, and the defenders Hysaj, Kumbulla and Djimsiti. Sassuolo’s midfielder Bajrami will be supported by Asani of Gwangju FC, and Hoxha, who plays for Dinamo Zagreb. There are few doubts about the starting centre forward: Fulham’s Broja will lead the attack.

Italy possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Darmian, Buongiorno, Bastoni; Di Lorenzo, Barella, Jorginho, Dimarco; Pellegrini, Chiesa; Scamacca

Albania possible starting lineup:
Berisha; Hysaj, Kumbulla, Djimsiti, Mitaj; Ramadani, Asllani; Asani, Bajrami, Hoxha; Broja.

Match Stats: Italy know how to get the job done at this stage

  • This is Albania’s second ever participation in a major tournament. At France 2016 they lost two games (against Switzerland and the hosts) and won 1-0 against Romania. 
  • Italy have lost only two of their last 18 Euros group stage matches.
  • Under Luciano Spalletti the Azzurri have lost just once and only failed to score in one (0-0 vs Ukraine) of their nine games.
  • Italy beat Albania 3-1 (goals from Ismajli, Di Lorenzo and Grifo) in the last meeting, an international friendly played in Tirana in November 2022.
  • This will be Italy and Albania’s first encounter at a major tournament. Italy have won all four of their previous meetings with Albania (7 goals for, 1 against), which have all taken place since 2014. 
  • Italy have never conceded more than one goal across their last two UEFA EURO participations, in 2016 and  2020: that’s a total of six goals conceded across their last 12 matches.
  • This is Albania’s second appearance at a major international tournament, FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO  combined. At EURO 2016, they were eliminated in the group stages, finishing third behind France and  Switzerland. 

Italy Group B 2024 Fixtures: against Spain, like at the last Euros

  • Vs Spain
  • Vs Croatia

Albania Group B 2024 Fixtures: last match might be decisive

  • Vs Croatia
  • Vs Spain

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