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Italy Start Euro 2024 With Dramatic 2-1 Win Over Albania

  • June 15, 2024
  • 2 min read
Italy Start Euro 2024 With Dramatic 2-1 Win Over Albania

Italy started off their Euro 2024 campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Albania in their opening match on Saturday.

The Albanians stunned the Italians with a record-breaking goal just 23 seconds into the game. Nedim Bajrami, 25, rocketed the ball from close range past Gianluigi Donnarumma, making it the fastest goal ever scored in the European Championship.

Inter Milan defender Federico Dimarco’s throw-in found Bejrami unmarked, who capitalized on the opportunity to punish Donnarumma at the near post.

However, Italy responded quickly. Alessandro Bastoni rose to meet a well-worked corner in the 11th minute, heading the ball past goalkeeper Thoma Strakosha at the far post.

This ignited Italy’s fighting spirit. They took the lead just five minutes later with a stunning half-volley from outside the box by Nicolo Barella, another Inter Milan player. The first-time volley left Strakosha with no chance to save.

Despite dominating the match with significantly more possession and goal attempts, Italy struggled to break through Albania’s defense for the remainder of the game.

This result sees Italy settle in second place in Group B, level on points with Spain who thrashed Croatia earlier on Saturday. Albania, the underdogs of the group, surprisingly find themselves above Croatia in third place on goal difference.

The upcoming fixtures in the so-called “Group of Death” will see group leaders Italy face off against Spain, the repeat of 2012 final, while Albania will look to cause another upset against a wounded Croatia on Wednesday.

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Samkelo Biyela

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