Tactical Preview for Italy EURO 2024

A tactical preview for Italy National Football Team playing in EURO 2024

Italy heads to Germany for Euro 2024 as holders after their triumph three years ago under Roberto Mancini. Gli Azzurri have encountered significant changes since then, failing to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Mancini’s departure. Former Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti replaced him in September 2023 and guided his nation to qualification, albeit through a second-place finish in their group.

In recent years, the two-time European Champions haven’t been among the favorites to win the tournament amid topsy-turvy form. Spalletti is overseeing a new generation that is emerging with several impressive young talents. The older generation that is is being phased out, and there may be a lack of experience.

Nevertheless, we take a look at what fans can expect from Italy at Euro 2024, including Spalletti’s likely starting lineup, the team’s strengths and weaknesses, and other expectations.

Predicted lineup of Italy National Football Team playing in EUROs

Italy lacked a consistent starting lineup during their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign and put in several questionable performances. La Nazionale are renowned for their defensive style boasting legends such as Paolo Maldini and Fabio Cannavaro. They could set up with three at the back, as their wing-backs provide width, which has been on display in recent friendlies.

Gianluigi Donnarumma will start in goal as he’s been an ever-present for several years. The PSG goalkeeper does have his vulnerabilities but is a fine shot-stopper whose nation is relying on him for Germany.

Napoli’s Giovanni Di Lorenzo will likely start in defense alongside Alessandro Bastoni who is perhaps their most exciting defensive talent. They will be without veteran defender Francesco Acerbi which is a massive blow and he could be replaced by Inter Milan teammate Matteo Darmian.

Inter’s Federico Dimarco and Torino’s Raoul Bellanova could be Spalletti’s choices to provide width on the wings.

Spalletti’s midfield may be their biggest strength, as he has two accomplished ball-playing midfielders, Jorginho and Nicolò Barella. The duo could be key to their chances of progressing through the tournament’s latter stages.

Federico Chiesa could be the one to watch for Italy. He was excellent at Euro 2020, which was crucial for their victory. The Juventus attacker could join AS Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini in attack, and he’s been consistently one of his nation’s top performers over the years.

Atalanta striker Gianluca Scamacca will likely be their starting striker. The former West Ham United man was in fine form last season, posting 19 goals and eight assists in 44 games across competitions.

Starting XI: Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK); Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Matteo Darmian, Alessandro Bastoni; Federico Dimarco, Raoul Bellanova; Jorginho; Nicolo Barella; Federico Chiesa, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Gianluca Scamacca

Italy's likely starting XI for Euro 2024 (Credits: Getty)
Italy’s likely starting XI for Euro 2024 (Credits: Getty)

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Team Strengths

Italy have a good mix of experienced heads and youthful prospects who will be eager to catch the eye in Germany and perhaps prove some doubters wrong. Spalletti’s men are perhaps the least attacking version of Azzurri that fans will see in action as they’re notorious for their pragmatic style of play.

  • Defensive versatility – Spalletti’s defense is perhaps the most versatile of any nation taking to Euro 2024 as they can fill in several positions. He also has a largely Inter Milan strong contingent which bodes well as they’ll be familiar with one another and their positional choices. They moved from a 4-3-3 formation used during qualifiers to a three-man backline during friendlies.
  • Success on the European club stage – The Italians Serie A was one of the strongest in Europe’s club competitions this season. Atalanta won the UEFA Europa League, and Fiorentina lost in the Europa Conference League final. Inter Milan also finished runners-up in the Champions League in the 2022-23 season.
  • Low expectations – Italy’s Euro 2020 success came with them touted as outside favorites to prevail. They won the competition for a second time when many expected either England or France to reign supreme. This bodes well for Spalletti as there are even fewer expectations of the two-time champions on this occasion.

Team Weaknesses

Italy struggled during their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign and looked a shell of their usual selves amid a changing of the guard. A lack of experience could be detrimental and Spalletti is still yet to prove his worth as an international manager despite his Napoli success.

  • Inconsistent form The Azzurri endured a frustrating Euro 2024 qualifying campaign. They finished second in Group C, comprising England, Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Malta. They won four, drew two, and lost two of their eight games, including losses home and away against the Three Lions.
  • Lack of experienced winners Nine of the 26-man squad Spalletti has selected were part of the squad that won Euro 2020. Jorginho, Chiesa, Barella, and Donnarumma made the cut, but several high-profile names are missing. Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini retired after their European Championship triumph three years ago.
  • Lack of firepower – Italy’s weakness from a team’s perspective is their attack, amid a lack of goal-scoring potency from Spalletti’s strikers. Scamacca impressed at club level but has just one goal in 16 caps. Other options, such as Mateo Retegui and Giacomo Raspadori, aren’t exactly shining either.

Italy EURO 2024 Key Players to Watch Out For

  • Nicolò Barella – The Inter playmaker is one of the most exciting European midfielders with his composure and elegance on the ball. He was in excellent form last season, posting two goals and seven assists in 48 games across competitions. The 27-year-old has starred for Italy since debuting in October 2018 with nine goals and as many assists in 53 caps.
Nicolò Barella (Credits: Getty)
  • Gianluigi Donnarumma – The PSG goalkeeper has been Azzurri’s No.1 since he broke onto the scene during his teenage years. He displaced all-time great Gianluigi Buffon, and those were big gloves to fill. He’s earned 62 caps, keeping 28 clean sheets but can be guilty of the odd lapse in judgment which sometimes proves costly.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (Credits: Reuters)
  • Federico Chiesa – The Juventus winger was one of Italy’s standout performers at Euro 2020 and he could be looking to impress in Germany amid speculation over his club future. He flourished at the Allianz Stadium last season with 10 goals and three assists in 37 games across competitions.
Federico Chiesa (Credits: Getty)

Conclusion

Italy can never be written off regarding winning a tournament, as they are unpredictable and often exceed expectations. Gli Azzurri may struggle judging by their qualifying campaign, especially against tough opposition like England or France. Spalletti also has a difficult group to contend with as they face Spain, Croatia and Albania, the former two could send them packing early doors.

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