Italy vs Albania – Euro 2024: Defending champions get tournament underway against minnows – stream FREE, TV, team news

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EUROPEAN champions Italy and surprise package Albania are set for their Euro 2024 opener as part of the toughest group in the competition.

The Azzurri and the Albanian national team face off on Saturday at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund.

Italy will be hoping to retain their European title crown at Euro 2024Reuters

Albania shocked the continent after advancing to the finals of Euro 2024AFP

The two teams are part of the fiery Group B, which also includes Spain and Croatia.

Italy are looking to defend their European crown after beating England on penalties at Wembley back in Euro 2020.

The reigning champions have won the competition twice and made two more finals.

However, the Italian national team haven’t been the same since their last title as they missed out on the 2022 World Cup.

Nevertheless, Luciano Spalletti’s side still star power with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, Inter Milan’s Federico Dimarco and Juventus’ Federico Chiesa available.

They are joined by Tottenham’s Guglielmo Vicario and Arsenal‘s Jorginho.

Albania are set for their second Euros competition after their debut in 2016.

And manager Sylvinho will be able to rely on experienced players, such as Brentford’s Thomas Strakosha, Atalanta’s Berat Djimsiti, Lazio’s Elseid Hysaj, Sassuolo’s Marash Kumbulla and Chelsea‘s Armando Broja.

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Inter Milan star Kristjan Asllani is also expected to play a big part in Germany.

Path to the Euros

Italy made it to Euro 2024 as runners-up during the qualifying stage as they finished behind England in Group C.

The Azzurri bested Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta but didn’t look particularly impressive after just four wins and two losses.

Albania, on the other hand, surprised the continent when they topped Group E.

Sylvinho’s underdogs overcame runners-up Czech Republic as well as Poland, Moldova and the Faroe Islands with four wins and one loss.

Team News

Italy boss Luciano Spalletti has no injuries heading to the Euro 2024 opener.

But Spalletti is not without notable absences as Newcastle’s Sandro Tonali will miss the tournament after he was banned for 10 months in October following betting breaches.

Tottenham’s Destiny Udogie, on the other hand, has been sidelined due to a quad injury.

The same goes for Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo, Inter Milan’s Francesco Acerbi and Atalanta Giorgio Scalvini.

Albania boss Sylvinho is set to field a fully fit squad this weekend.

Ones to watch

Italy have a raft of stars to help them in their bid to retain their title.

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Inter Milan star Davide Frattesi stood out in the qualifying stage with four goals for his national team.

Frattesi also registered eight goals and seven assists in 42 appearances for Inter this season.

However, the opposition will want to be especially careful of Federico Chiesa, Jorginho, Nicolo Barella and of course Gianluca Scamacca who helped Atalanta win the Europa League.

Albania will heavily rely on Armando Broja’s brilliance but Gwangju’s Jasir Asani and Sassuolo’s Nedim Bajrami have proven to be reliable.

Head-to-Head

Italy and Albania’s first ever match took place in 2014 during an international friendly that the former won 1-0.

Since then, the Azzurri have won all of their four meetings across all competitions.

The Italians have scored seven goals along the way while the Albanians only managed one.

This is the first time ever the two teams face off in the finals of an international competition.

SunSport Prediction

Italy pose as the favourites as they have the star power and the experience.

However, the Azzurri haven’t been as impressive as they were four years ago and will have to be careful against Albania who have been creating upsets the last two years.

Prediction: 2-1

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When is Italy vs Albania?

Italy’s opening game against Albania will take place on Saturday, June 15.

The clash will kick off at 8pm BST.

Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund will play host to the game.

What channel is it and can it be live streamed?

Italy vs Albania will be shown live on BBC One in the UK.

You can live stream the action from the BBC iPlayer, which is available for download onto your mobile or tablet device.

Can I watch for FREE?

Yes, the game is available for FREE on BBC One, so long as you have a TV licence.

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Odds

Italy – 7/20

Draw – 19/5

Albania – 17/2

*Odds courtesy of William Hill and correct at time of publication.

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