Euro 2024 – Group B: Italy vs Albania Tips, TV and Betting Preview

The last leg of the triple header of action at Euro 2024 on Saturday evening sees the conclusion of the first round of matches in Group B as Italy get their title defence underway when they take on the outsiders Albania in Dortmund.

Italy won this tournament three years ago when they were much stronger fancies than they are heading into the 2024 competition so they will be out to prove that they can keep the title. Albania will want to show they are not making up the numbers.

Where to watch

This match will be the first one of the tournament to be shown on BBC1 with the build-up in Dortmund beginning at 7.20pm ahead of the kick off at 8pm.


Italy were made to work hard just to make it to this tournament, needing a positive result against Ukraine in their last qualifying match to avoid going through the playoffs where they slipped up when they attempted to make it to the World Cup in Qatar. It might only be three years since Italy won this title but so much has happened since then in terms of manager changes and key retirements that nobody is really factoring them in as potential winners of this event.

In the past they have been able to get by with their extraordinary strong defensive options but they don’t look like as packed in that department depth wise here and that could mean that the lack of a top class number nine could well be their undoing. That said, Luciano Spalletti can utilise a fluid formation so they might be able to create enough chances for the law of averages to ensure that some are put away to see them go well.


Albania are back at the European Championship for the first time in eight years and they will be eager to show that they have improved since then. To be fair to them they qualified as the winners of their qualifying group and regardless of how weak it might have been, to show consistency over that period of time suggests that they are going to have something about them. Given that Spain and Croatia are to come they might need to show that here if they are going to progress.

All the signs are that Sylvinho is going to go in with a 4-3-3 formation with Chelsea forward Armando Broja likely to be the central figure in that set up but you would imagine that the Albanians are naturally going to be forced to do much of their work on the counter by an Italian side which are much happier in possession of the ball these days. Keeping things tight might need to be the overriding thing for the underdogs here but there is no reason why a result is beyond them.

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Team News

Italy are likely to be without Nicolo Barella for this opening fixture and he continues to recover from a muscle problem but Davide Frattesi has recovered from a groin issue and he is expected to play a part for the defending champions.

Albania boss Sylvinho has claimed that he has a fully fit squad to choose from for this opening encounter which suggests that the Premier League player Armando Broja is available to lead the line in this one.


These are two of the sides in the competition that I can’t make my mind up over and so I would like to see them in action at this tournament to allow me to make more of a judgement before I get involved in their matches. My gut feel is that this will be a tight match though where the defences outshine the attacking players on the pitch, but the early offerings in this tournament have been completely the opposite.

The bet that I do like here though is for there to be over 4 Asian cards. I expect a pretty combative match here. Albania will want to show that they can be competitive while the Italians never need an excuse to get stuck in and in Felix Zwayer we might have the perfect man in charge of the contest. The German referee showed 170 yellow cards in 35 outings in the season just concluded and added four red cards to his paperwork so he doesn’t seem to take any nonsense. He refereed Italy in their qualifying match with North Macedonia and flashed six yellow cards and in his last 10 games he has shown six or more cards on six occasions. The over looks the play here.


Back Over 4 Asian cards for a 3/10 stake at 1.90 with Bet365