Italy Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Final Verdict

Italy Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Final Verdict article feature image

BJ Cunningham, Cyriel Klitsie/Action Network. Pictured: Federico Chiesa.

Italy have some of the strangest international results over the last six years. They have failed to qualify for the last two World Cups, but they are your defending Euro Champions.

There was a change at manager halfway through qualifying as Roberto Mancini took a large paycheck to go manage Saudi Arabia, which made way for former Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti. They struggled through qualifying, as it came down to the final match against Ukraine where they were able to get a draw to get to the Euros.

The Italian squad is talented, but to make a deep run in this tournament it's going to take some more magic just like in 2021.

Here is my Italy Euro 2024 preview.

Tactical Analysis

Spalletti wants his Italian side to build out from the back in most situations. If teams try to press them high, he will have his team play more long balls up to the striker or outlet balls to his fullbacks pushing higher up the pitch. When teams sit off them, they will typically do so in a 3-2-5 fashion with the fullbacks pushing high up the pitch to provide width and Barella being the conductor in the middle.

It’s all about wide overloads and combinations for Italy, which was the same for Spalletti when he was at Napoli. The fullbacks DiMarco and Di Lorenzo will push inward once they reach the final third to create space out wide to combine with the winger to eventually create a chance via a cross.

Against England, Italy occasionally pressed high in a man to man fashion, but they would usually sit back in a 5-3-2 mid block, trying to deny space through the middle.

When they do press high, it will typically be out of a 4-4-2 shape, but Spaletti’s team did struggle with teams that primarily play in transition and play a lot of long balls. England did this to perfection in the second half at Wembley, sending balls up to Kane and allowing him to switch the play and find wingers being isolated 1 v 1 versus the opposing fullback.

Throughout all of qualifying, Italy were 17th in forward pass completion rate, 18th in long ball completion rate and 22nd in counterattack shots allowed per 90 minutes. One of the reasons for that has to do with their in possession structure. Spalletti wants his fullbacks to push high and occupy the half space when they are in the opponent's final third, which allows them to overload wide areas and create chances via crosses, but it also leaves them exposed in wide areas when they do lose the ball and the opponent is able to break in transition, which is something Ukraine had a lot of success with against them.


data via WyScout

Final Verdict

The key for Italy in this tournament is going to be who plays at striker. Spalletti loves Raspadori from his days at Napoli and has started him up top in four of Italy’s qualifying matches, but Gianluca Scamacca (Atalanta) is one of the hottest strikers on the planet right now. Scamacca plays in an Atalanta system that is also very reliant on attacking from out wide and creating chances via crosses, so he would be perfect in this type of system and would give Italy the best chance offensively.

There is no doubt Luciano Spalletti is a great manager after winning the Serie A title with Napoli and his ability to adapt to different situations makes this Italy team incredibly dangerous. Their odds to win the group are a tad too short at +200 as well as their outright odds, so there is no future for me on Italy, but I will be looking to play them against Spain in their second match.

Final Verdict: Pass

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.