Spain and Italy will meet again in a heavyweight clash at UEFA Euro 2024

In one of the most anticipated round-robin matches of the tournament, Spain faces defending champions Italy for control of Group B at UEFA Euro 2024.

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Both football powerhouses enter their second match of the competition with a win, although each took a different route to their three-point start.

Spain came out of the blocks and imposed their will on Croatia in an emphatic 3-0 win at Berlin’s Olympiastadion.

Alvaro Morata, Fabian Ruiz and Dani Carvajal each found the net before the referee blew the half-time whistle, putting the three-time European champions on course for victory.

Goalkeeper Unai Simon turned away a Croatia penalty in the second half to complete the clean sheet in the win.

“This was a complete performance, inspired by the competitive genes that run through this team,” said Spanish coach Luis de la Fuente. “Both the young guys and the experienced guys who have won almost everything in football, but are still super hungry and committed.”

Spain’s Lamine Yamal became the youngest player at a European Championship at 16 years and 338 days, surpassing the milestone set by Poland’s 17-year-old and 246-day-old Kacper Kozłowski at UEFA Euro 2020.

“You could choose one of my players to praise today,” de la Fuente said. “They have confidence, they believe in what we can achieve, and the superstars put themselves at the service of the team.”

Italy also passed their first test at UEFA Euro 2024, but had to come from behind to secure a 2–1 win over Albania.

In the history of the competition, no team has ever fallen behind faster than Italy, when they conceded the opening marker just 23 seconds into the match.

Federico Dimarco fell short after a throw in defense and Nedim Bajrami pounced to stun the Italian fans in Dortmund and around the world.

The reigning champions did not stay behind for long, as Alessandro Bastoni headed in the equalizer in the 11th minute, followed by a goal from Nicolo Barella that gave Italy the lead in the 16th minute.

Albania would have one golden opportunity late in the second half, but Italy would survive and leave with the win.

“Since I started coaching, I have been told what is important is winning,” said Italian coach Luciano Spalletti. “No, it’s about playing well. To win Euro 2024 we have to play good football. We were a bit deep in the first half, and it allowed Albania to use their physicality to get it into the mix .We must remain confident in our style – that is the way forward.

Spain and Italy have met at every European Championship since 2008, including playing in the UEFA Euro 2012 final.

Spain defeated Italy 4–0 in that championship match at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, to defend their title and win their third consecutive major tournament.

The teams also had a group stage match in 2012 that ended in a 1–1 draw.

Spain eliminated Italy in the quarter-finals on penalties after a goalless draw in 2008

Italy returned the favor in 2016, beating Spain 2-0, ending their quest for three consecutive titles.

At the 2020 tournament, Italy defeated Spain on penalties in the semi-finals en route to winning their second championship.

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