"We were below their level in terms of reaction" - Italy coach Luciano Spalletti makes honest claim after 1-0 loss to Spain at Euro 2024

Italy had won Euro 2020 after defeating England
Italy had won Euro 2020 after defeating England

Italy head coach Luciano Spalletti admitted that Spain were quicker than his side, following the defending champions' 1-0 loss in Euro 2024 on Thursday, June 20. Italy started their campaign with a 2-1 win over Albania.

However, throughout the clash against Spain, they were chasing the ball and looked clueless when they had possession. As for La Roja, they managed to win another crucial clash following their 0-3 mauling of Croatia.

Gianluigi Donnarumma made some crucial saves throughout the 90 minutes and was Italy's best player by a margin. However, even he couldn't do much when Nico William's cross in the 55th minute was redirected into the net by Riccardo Calafiori for an own goal.

After the game, Spalletti stated that Spain were fresher and faster than Italy, saying (via Gianluca Di Marzio):

"The difference was the freshness. They were quicker than us. We often had late readings. The key to the problem is always the same: we were below their level in terms of reaction. They were fresher than us and created problems for us with the quick choices."

The 65-year-old also justified Italy's playing style which relies more on keeping possession and controlling the game rather than being in control defensively. This playing style has been synonymous with the best Italy squads over the years.

"Everyone would love to copy Spain. They have played the best football for the longest time. I need to make my players aware of how important this match is because it becomes very challenging if you just sit deep," Spalletti said.
"You have to overhaul the concept and mentality of the team and just chase after the ball and cede it to them. But I don't want to play like that. I don't know how to coach how to do that. I'm the least-suited person to do that so you need to play the ball and keep possession," he added.

Spalletti concluded by saying that he should've given his squad more rest, which could've proved to be a decisive factor in the clash against Spain.

Italy will take on Croatia in their final group-stage clash on Monday, June 24. Even a draw will allow the defending champions to progress to the Round of 16.

Italy defeated England on penalties to win Euro 2020 in London

The Gli Azzurri won their first international trophy since their 2006 World Cup triumph after beating England 3-2 on penalties in the Euro final in 2021. Before that, Italy had won their last European Championship at home in 1968.

England's Luke Shaw opened the scoring in the second minute of the game, which was the fastest goal in a Euro final. However, his effort was naturalized by Leonardo Bonucci in the second half (67').

With the scores level at 1-1, the match headed into extra time where neither team added to their tally as the dreaded penalty shootout beckoned.

England were 2-1 ahead after the two teams had taken two penalties each. However, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka missed their penalties, allowing Italy to bag a 3-2 win.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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