Italy vs Albania Preview, Predictions | Euro 2024 Match Picks

Italy vs Albania Preview, Predictions | Euro 2024 Match Picks article feature image

Isabella Bonotto/Getty. Pictured: Davide Frattessi.

Italy vs Albania Odds

Saturday, June 15
3 p.m. ET
Italy Odds-250
Albania Odds+750
Over / Under
 +110 / -138
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Italy begin their Euro title defense when they take on Albania in Group B.

Italy are your defending Euro champions, but they have somehow failed to qualify for the last two world cups, which makes them somewhat of a darkhorse in this tournament. They made a change half way through qualifying, bringing in former Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti, who has them playing very well entering this tournament.

Albania have qualified for the second ever European Championship after an impressive campaign that saw them winning their qualifying group over both Poland and the Czech Republic. They are one of the biggest long shots to even get to the knockout stage, so a result here against Italy would be massive.

Here is my Italy vs Albania preview.


The Italians have looked better under Luciano Spalletti, but breaking down Albania’s low block is going to be a very tough task.

Italy’s system under Spalletti is mainly reliant on the fullbacks pushing up the pitch and inverting once they get to the final third to create wide passing triangles and eventually create a shot via a cross. They were incredibly effective with this style because in the six matches that he was in charge they created 12.16 expected goals. The thing is, a lot of their chances came when they were in a positive game state.

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.

Under Spalletti, Italy’s 5-3-2 defensive block was incredibly difficult to break down. In the six matches he was in charge they only allowed 4.7 expected goals. They had the fifth-highest duel win rate and allowed the fifth-fewest progressive passes, so it’s really hard to see how Albania create even close to one expected goal in this match.


Albania will play really passively, but they are very active in the final third. When that happens they man mark all over the pitch and put a lot of pressure on the ball to try and win it to create a transition opportunity. Their shape is generally very narrow when they decide to sit off a little more, which usually happens when they are playing with a lead, making it very difficult for teams to play through the middle. Pressuring the ball in the final third against a team like Italy is really important because of the passers this Italian side has that can rip through defensive blocks.

Albania only allowed four goals and 0.98 xG per 90 minutes throughout qualifying, so this is a really good defensive side. The problem with them is that they have very little offense. They generally rely on transition breaks to create most of their chances, as they had the fifth-most counterattack shots in the Euro field, but they way they settle for chances is not sustainable.

Of the 12 goals that Albania scored during qualifying, seven of them were low quality chances from outside the box, mainly by Jasir Asani, who plays in South Korea’s K1 League. To be fair, they didn’t have their best striker Armando Broja available during qualifying, but he’s going to be on an island for a lot of this match.

Italy vs Albania


This is going to be a very slow paced match with Italy controlling a lot of possession, but their ability to break down Albania's defensive structure remains in question. Sylvinho has his side set up in a really good and compact defensive block that didn't allow many high quality chances during qualifying.

The hard part for Albania is their attack is reliant on a few counterattacking opportunities and shots from outside the box, which is not sustainable or an effective way of creating high quality chances against this Italian defense.

This match is set up to be very low event and I only have 2.02 goals projected for it, so I like the value on the under at -135.

Pick: Under 2.5 (-135 via BetMGM

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