Despite the Italy Men’s National Team opening their 2024 European Championship with a 2-1 comeback win over Albania, Luciano Spalletti could make changes to his starting XI for their second game of the tournament against a fancied Spain side.

The Azzurri are next in Euro 2024 action on Thursday evening in Gelsenkirchen, with kick-off set for 21:00 CEST again.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Spalletti could change his initial XI for the game against Spain, and they have reported that the Azzurri boss has 15 players whom he considers good enough to start.

Naturally, Spain will pose a different threat to Italy than Albania did, and the 2008 and 2012 European Championship winners will be more fluid and threatening on the attack. 

A more physical Italy against Spain?

As a result of the increased threat against Spain, Spalletti could look to add a bit more muscle to his starting XI and sacrifice some of his more attack-minded players, although there would be no desire to go into the game looking for just one point.

Gianluca Mancini with the Italy Men’s National Team. (@Azzurri)

While Monday’s training session – the first which was focused on Spain after a recovery session on Sunday – gave no clues as to how the Azzurri would line up on Thursday, La Gazzetta dello Sport are reporting that the back four will remain. There had previously been some speculation that a back three would be implemented with Matteo Darmian coming in to accompany Alessandro Bastoni and Riccardo Calafiori, though now it appears as though the Bologna man could miss out.

AS Roma defender Gianluca Mancini could come into the XI to provide more muscle and aggression, while his Giallorossi teammates Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini could trade places, leaving the former with a starting spot in front of the back four and the latter dropping to the bench. 

Italy’s striker problem

Italy Retegui
Italy’s Mateo Retegui celebrates. [@Azzurri]

Gianluca Scamacca did well with his link-up play against Albania, but the Atalanta forward never really posed a threat on goal himself.

Genoa’s Mateo Retegui could be opted for ahead of Scamacca against Spain as he is seen as a better presser without the ball. 

Possible Italy XI against Spain

And so, despite having opened their Euro 2024 campaign with a win, Spalletti could make as many as three changes to his Azzurri starting XI against Spain.

Should Spalletti make the abovementioned changes to his team, Italy would line up as follows against Spain on Matchday 2 of Euro 2024 Group B: Gianluigi Donnarumma; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Alessandro Bastoni, Gianluca Mancini, Federico Dimarco; Jorginho, Nicolo Barella, Bryan Cristante; Davide Frattesi, Federico Chiesa; Mateo Retegui.