Monday, June 17, 2024

Prediction: Italy vs Albania

Verdict: Italy win & Under 4.5 goals

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Dachbet

Getting their EURO 24 adventure underway on Saturday night, defending champions Italy will meet Albania at Signal Iduna Park.

Italy

Starting with Italy, while they might have only just about dragged themselves to this summer’s European Championships, the Azzurri should find the mood in their camp at a red-hot high. Signing off their pre-EURO 24 preparations with a 1-0 victory against Bosnia & Herzegovina, Luciano Spalletti’s men do appear to have found top gear at a crucial time. With some potentially billing the defending European champions as potential dark horses over the next month, the former Napoli boss has seen his squad suffer just a single defeat from any of their previous 11 consecutive appearances across all competitions – a purple patch that stems back over the past 12 months. Smelling the chance to make an early statement on Saturday night, it should also be noted that Italy have conceded just a one goal in over 460 minutes of action.

Team News

Playing a leading role as Atalanta were crowned Europa League champions last season, former West Ham striker Gianluca Scamacca should spearhead Italy’s charge on Saturday night. Appointed captain ahead of this summer’s European Championships, PSG shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma will start between the sticks.

However, dealing with a recent knock and not featuring on both of Italy’s pre-EURO 24 showdowns, Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella faces a race against the clock to feature at Signal Iduna Park.

Albania

As for Albania, booking their European Championship return for the first time since 2016, Sylvinho’s side will certainly be relishing their trip to Germany over the next month. However, despite signing off their preparations with consecutive friendly victories against Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein, the Reds face an almighty uphill battle in the race to book a famous knockout stage ticket. Sharing Group B alongside Italy, Spain and World Cup bronze medalists Croatia, the one-time Lyon boss has a huge challenge on his hands. Opening their European adventure with what promises to be a real challenge on Saturday night, Albania should also be concerned by their woeful record against Italy. Including a 3-1 loss when they last met the defending champions for a friendly showdown back in November 2022, Sylvinho’s squad have lost all of their four historic battles by an aggregate score of 7-1.

Team News

While it might appear almost certain that Armando Broja is set for a permanent move away from Premier League giants Chelsea this summer, the 22-year-old will spearhead Albania’s attack on Saturday night. Making 23 Serie A appearances for Italian champions Inter Milan, Kristjan Asllani will start at the heart of Sylvinho’s midfield.

Completing a January move to Premier League outfit Brentford and making a pair of top-flight appearances during the 2023/24 campaign, Thomas Strakosha will start between the sticks at Signal Iduna Park.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When Italy and Albania last met back in November 2022, the reigning European champions picked up a 3-1 victory.
    • Likewise, the Azzurri have won all of their four historic meetings against Saturday’s opponents by an aggregate score of 7-1.
    • Italy have suffered just a single defeat from any of their previous 11 consecutive appearances across all competitions – a purple patch that stems back over the past 12 months.
    • Albania have managed to muster just a single victory from any of their previous 11 appearances on foreign soil.
    • The Reds have collected just one clean sheet from any of their last six matchups across all competitions.

    Conclusion

    Opening the defence of their European crown on Saturday night, Italy should feel that they have been handed a real opportunity. Signing off their EURO 24 preparations with a 1-0 victory against Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Azzurri should find the mood in their camp at a real high. Losing just one of their previous 11 appearances across all competitions, Spalletti’s side are rightfully pencilled in as a standout contender here. Winning all of their four historic showdowns against Albania by an aggregate score of 7-1, we are expecting a similar outcome this weekend.

    Verdict: Italy win & Under 4.5 goals

    Best Odds: 7/10

    Bookmaker: Dachbet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
    Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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