Good debut for Italy at the 2024 European Championship

After the initial deficit, the Azzurri came back with goals from Bastoni and Barella to gain a precious victory.
The Italian players celebrate the decisive goal scored by Nicolò Barella
The Italian players celebrate the decisive goal scored by Nicolò Barella / Crystal Pix/MB Media/GettyImages

The national teams of Italy and Albania made their debut at the 2024 European Football Championship.

The match between the two teams started immediately with an unexpected twist as Albania found the net for a temporary advantage.

A throw-in taken awkwardly by left-back Federico Dimarco effectively gave the ball away to Nedim Bajrami who, with a quick leg movement, brought the ball onto his right foot, unleashing a powerful shot that beat goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

In short, after just 23 seconds Albania found the opening goal.

Furthermore, it is the fastest goal ever conceded by the Italian national team as well as being the fastest goal ever scored in the history of the European Football championships.

Despite the blow suffered and despite the majority of Albanian fans present at the stadium, the Azzurri immediately reacted by taking control of ball possession and attempting to increase the pace of the match in search of a draw.

During the attacks of the Italian footballers, a certain defensive fragility immediately became evident, especially every time the team coached by Luciano Spalletti managed to bring a large number of men into the opponent's penalty area.

The equalizer came in the 11th minute with a close-range header from defender Alessandro Bastoni following a corner kick.

Shortly afterwards, in the 16th minute, an insistent action on the right side of the field favored a shot from outside by the midfielder Nicolò Barella who coordinated in a magnificent way and by hitting with first intention he left no escape for the opposing goalkeeper .

In the space of a few minutes, Italy was able to take a 2-1 lead.

Subsequently, the Azzurri continued their offensive actions in order to increase the advantage, making themselves dangerous first with an insertion by Davide Frattesi and then with a close-range shot by Gianluca Scamacca following a headed pass from Lorenzo Pellegrini.

However, both conclusions were neutralized by providential interventions from Albanian goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.

A good, fast-paced first half thus ended at 2-1 in favor of Italy.

Nicolo Barella
Nicolò Barella was undoubtedly the best of the match / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The second half resumed without changes and on the same register as the first half of the game.

Prolonged possession of the ball by the Italian national team in search of an opening between the tight defensive lines of the Albanian national team who mainly thought about not granting further scoring opportunities to their opponents.

Up until this point in the match, the brilliant performances of Jorginho and Barella were appreciated as they dictated the pace in midfield, as well as the individual performance of Federico Chiesa who always skipped past his direct opponent, creating constant numerical superiority on the right side of the field.

Instead, a subdued performance from Albanian striker Armando Broja, who definitely committed himself to duels against the opposing defenders but showed no incisiveness in the final meters.

Therefore, the aforementioned striker was replaced towards the conclusion of the match by teammate Rey Manaj.

The substitutions made by Sylvinho at least gave fresh energy so much so that Albania finally projected forward dangerously, forcing the Italian national team to lower its center of gravity.

Up to that point Italy had not been in serious danger but in the last ten minutes of the match the Albanian players tried to find an equaliser.

First, with a not particularly treacherous long-range shot and then with a long throw on which Manaj was skillful and controlled the ball, then overcame his opponent and found himself face to face with Donnarumma who had been completely inactive until that moment, made a valuable intervention in the low exit which thus preserved the final result, guaranteeing Italy's victory.


Thanks to this victory, Italy reached the top of group B with Spain who won 3-0 in their match against Croatia.

In the next match, which will be held on Thursday June 20 at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen , the two leading national teams will face each other in a match that promises a guaranteed spectacle.