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Italy vs Albania: Three key battles that could decide Euro 2024 clash

Published at :June 14, 2024 at 10:13 PM
Modified at :June 14, 2024 at 10:13 PM
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Ajay Gandhar

Gli Azzurri are the defending Euro champions.

When defending champions Italy take on underdogs Albania in their Euro 2024 Group B opener on Saturday, the result could hinge on a few key individual matchups across the field.

While the Italians are favourites in this Euro tie, Albania will be determined to cause an upset. Here are three head-to-head battles that could decide the outcome:

Three key battles that may decide Italy vs Albania Euro 2024 clash

3. Gianluca Scamacca vs Berat Djimsiti

The duel between Italy’s likely striker Gianluca Scamacca and Albania‘s star centre-back Berat Djimsiti will be vital. The tall and physical Scamacca will lead the Italian attack, looking to use his aerial ability and hold-up play to unsettle the Albanian defence.

But Djimsiti, fresh from Atalanta’s Europa League triumph, will marshal the Albanian backline. His positioning, aerial prowess and organizational skills will be crucial to containing the dangerous Scamacca.

If Scamacca can get the better of Djimsiti and bring teammates into play, Italy’s attack could thrive. But if Djimsiti nullifies the striker’s threat, it derails Italy’s attacking thrust.

Also read: Italy vs Albania: All-time head-to-head record

2. Federico Dimarco vs Nedim Bajrami

Down the left flank, Italy’s attacking wing-back Federico Dimarco and Albania’s talented winger Nedim Bajrami could engage in a fascinating duel. Dimarco will provide width and deliveries from the left for Italy.

However, Bajrami’s dribbling skills, movement and link-up play from the right wing pose a defensive threat to Dimarco. The tricky Albanian could cause problems.

If Dimarco handles Bajrami well while still contributing to the attack, it’s a major outlet for Italy. But if Bajrami gets the better of him, it exposes the Italian defence to counterattacks.

1. Jorginho vs Kristjan Asllani

In midfield, Italy’s experienced metronome Jorginho will likely battle Albania’s promising youngster Kristjan Asllani. Jorginho aims to control the tempo, recycle possession and link defence to attack for Italy.

But the tenacious Asllani, fresh from winning Serie A with Inter, excels at disrupting the opposition’s rhythm and launching counters. He could make life very difficult for Jorginho.

If the veteran Italian dictates proceedings and quietens Asllani, it hands Italy control of the game. However, if Asllani unsettles Jorginho and wins the midfield battle, it creates spaces for Albania to exploit.

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