EURO 2024 | What went wrong for Italy in loss to Spain

Italy picked up a 1-0 loss to Spain today in the group stages of EURO 2024 but it could have been way worse, as La Roja dominated from the very first minute. 

Luciano Spalletti’s side couldn’t create much and Spain should’ve had more goals to the good, as Nico Williams put in a sparkling performance and so did Lamine Yamal on the right. Italy simply couldn’t cope with the quality on show from Spain.

But certain things did go wrong for them and we look at some reasons for the loss


Was it the right starting XI?

The same Italy side impressed against Albania – not just because they won but also because of they set up tactically. But Spain present a different tactical challenge as compared to Albania as they would generally dominate possession and press higher. 

As a result, Italy had to operate deeper and be more defence-first than the tournament opener. Playing against a higher defensive line demands more quicker players in the final third and players who can hold the ball, turn and play others in. At the same time, the backline of Alessandro Bastoni and Riccardo Calafiori isn’t the most defensively resolute even if they are great when Italy have more possession.

The question arises – did Spalletti make a mistake in using the same XI? Could the approach have been more defensive minded, where someone like Gianluca Mancini could have started and Italy would have operated in a deeper block, reducing the gaps between the backline and midfield?


Giovanni di Lorenzo

The Napoli man is the elephant in the room. He had a disastarous showing, as Williams ran him ragged and put in a performance to remember for years to come. He also announced himself at the biggest stage and that came at the cost of Di Lorenzo, who was being turned inside out.

Even in the build up to Calafiori’s own goal, Di Lorenzo made a defensive error that led to the ball coming into the box when that could’ve been avoided. It was a poor showing and that brings us to the third point.


Bad substitutions?

Di Lorenzo had a horrible game but the responsibility to make a change, protect him better or take him off fell on Spalletti’s shoulders. But the changes made didn’t quite work out as Andrea Cambiasso, who came on for Davide Frattesi to protect Di Lorenzo, didn’t make an impact. Bryan Cristante could also never make a mark.

Spalletti could have brought on Matteo Darmian for Di Lorenzo or for Frattesi to provide proper defensive support, or someone in the mould of Nicolo Fagioli could have come on for Frattesi, as the Juventus man offers a better attacking output and more dynamism in the final third.







Kaustubh Pandey I GIFN



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