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UEFA European Championship

Italy start Euro title defence with narrow 2-1 win over Albania

Published at :June 16, 2024 at 2:46 AM
Modified at :June 16, 2024 at 2:46 AM
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(Courtesy : UEFA Euro)

Rajarshi Shukla

The defending champions conceded the fastest goal in Euro history

After giving up the fastest goal in the history of the European Championship in just 23 seconds, Italy overcame the setback to defeat Albania 2-1 and begin their championship defence.

At Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion, Nedim Bajrami enthralled a resolutely pro-Albanian crowd by seizing a throw-in attempt by Italy’s Federico Dimarco that missed teammate Alessandro Bastoni. He followed up with a touch and hammered a rising effort inside the near post.

The Italians took the lead in just 16 minutes when Nicolo Barella scored their first goal from the edge of the box after Bastoni headed in Lorenzo Pellegrini’s cross in the eleventh.

Barella was among the five players who made it through from the starting lineup for Italy in the 2021 European Championship final against England in a penalty shootout.

Although the Azzurri have lost a few players to injury and may not have the same star power as in past years, Luciano Spalletti appears to have restored some order with them.

The team appears strong ahead of the beginning of Euro 2024, despite not qualifying for the World Cup and changing coaches far more quickly than usual since winning the postponed Euros in 2021.

Despite having three points, which is tied with Spain at the top of the table, the Azzurri are still second in the rankings due to goal differential.

Italy looked shady the whole game, but they were able to scrape by with a victory and are currently in second place with three points because of their tournament experience.

Although they are a very different team today, they were able to start the competition with a spirited victory over Spain. If they don’t improve, things might get difficult for the reigning champions.

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