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Monday July 15 2024

Title holders Italy to play Albania in their EURO 2024 group opener on Saturday

15 June 2024 23:59 (UTC+04:00)
Title holders Italy to play Albania in their EURO 2024 group opener on Saturday

Title holders Italy will play the underdogs from Albania in their UEFA EURO 2024 group opener on Saturday, according to Anadolu Agency, Azernews reports.

The EURO 2024 will kick off Friday with host country Germany playing Scotland in Group A in Munich in the tournament.

One of the leading football nations on the globe, Italy, who won the EURO 2020 title in London, will meet Albania in a Group B match that will kick off at 1900GMT at BVB Stadion Dortmund.

Both sides have met four times before this summer's EURO as Italy won all of their matches against Albania.

Called the Azzurri, Italy, which are also EURO regulars, won the title twice in 1968 and 2020. They were the runners-up in 2000 and 2012. It will be Italy's 11th EURO appearance.

Albania qualified twice for the European football tournament. They made their EURO debut in 2016 but were eliminated in the group stage in France.

Coached by former Arsenal and Barcelona left-back Sylvinho, Albania do not have big names in their squad but disciplined teamwork may take them to the next stages in Germany.

Saturday will also see Spain vs. Croatia in Group B, named the "Group of Death" for its high-profile competitors.

The match at Berlin's Olympiastadion will begin at 1600 GMT.

Former world champions Spain are seeking a record-breaking fourth EURO triumph this summer. The Spanish national team last won the EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Luka Modric-led Croatia, the FIFA World Cup silver and bronze medalists, eye the latter stages in the European championship.

Real Madrid's experienced midfielder Modric, 38, is set to appear in his fifth EURO.

Once part of Yugoslavia, Croatia qualified for all European championships except the EURO 2000 in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Croatia made their debut in the EURO in 1996 and their best performances were in the quarterfinals in 1996 and 2008.

Saturday's fixtures in EURO 2024 are as follows:

Matchday 1

Group A

Hungary vs. Switzerland

Group B

Spain vs. Croatia

Italy vs. Albania

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