Brilliant Barella!

16 June,2024 07:06 AM IST |  Germany  |  AFP

After scoring winner in defending champs Italy’s come-from-behind 2-1 win over Albania, midfielder Nicolo sys his side should have netted more

Italy’s Nicolo Barella is ecstatic after scoring the winner against Albania at Football Stadium Dortmund in Germany. PIC/Getty Images

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Reigning champions Italy came through a test of their Euro 2024 credentials on Saturday with an eventful 2-1 win over Albania but the Azzurri have plenty to digest ahead of their next Group B clash with red-hot Spain. The Italians have their sights set on qualification for the last 16 and are locked on three points with group leaders Spain before the pair face off in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday. However, one point from their final two matches should be enough to secure a place in the knockout rounds given that the four best third-place finishers go through.

Spain challenge next

That makes facing Spain - who beat Croatia 3-0 on Saturday - a less daunting prospect for a developing team. Inexperienced Italy could have crumbled after such a rapid setback, and one which was brought upon themselves thanks to Federico Dimarco's sloppy throw-in which allowed Nedim Bajrami to rifle past Gianluigi Donnarumma. Yet instead they fought straight back and were ahead with a quarter of an hour on the clock thanks to a bullet header from Alessandro Bastoni and Nicolo Barella's sumptuous first-time strike.

Goal in 23 seconds

"It was a bit of a strange start to the match as a goal after 23 seconds could have really hurt the players psychologically," Barella told Sky Sport. "We should have scored more goals and fell away a bit at the end, but we started on the right foot with the win." "I'm pleased with them tonight but we shouldn't be too pleased with ourselves," said coach Luciano Spalletti of a solid opening win, albeit one in which they had to come from behind after conceding just 23 seconds into the game. Italy came into the tournament in Germany as something of an unknown quantity, despite being the title-holders, with a host of fresh faces in the squad. Spalletti had only a handful of matches to develop his side after replacing Roberto Mancini last year.

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