The defending champions survived a scare in Dortmund to get their Euro 2024 campaign under way with a win. Check out the best facts, stats and Opta data with our Italy vs Albania stats page.

Italy got their Euro 2024 campaign under way with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Albania in Dortmund, even though they fell behind early on when Nedim Bajrami scored the fastest goal in European Championship history after just 23 seconds.

Luciano Spalletti’s men turned things around within 16 minutes thanks to goals from Alessandro Bastoni and Nicolò Barella, but were made to sweat by Albania in order to eventually claim three points in Group B.

Despite being defending champions, this is a new era for Italy. At 26 years and 287 days, Spalletti named the youngest starting lineup for the Azzurri at a European Championship since June 1988 against the Soviet Union in the semi-finals (25y 2d).

An element of youthful naivety may have been what led to their embarrassing opening moments.

As for Albania, they could not have wished for a better start, and it was handed to them after just 23 seconds by Federico Dimarco. The Italy left-back directed a throw-in towards his own penalty area, only for Bajrami to anticipate the run of the ball before Bastoni, collecting it before smashing a shot inside Gianluigi Donnarumma’s near post.

In fact, Dimarco’s throw was the only touch of the ball that Italy had before they fell behind.

They hit back just 10 minutes later, though, when a short-corner routine from the left led to Lorenzo Pellegrini floating a cross to the back post for Bastoni to head his country level, making amends for any part he played in Italy falling behind.

It was the third-earliest a European Championship game had seen both teams score (11th minute), only behind Iceland vs England at Euro 2016 (6th minute) and Russia vs Spain at the 1964 edition (8th minute).

Barella is likely to play a key role for Italy at this tournament. The Inter midfielder registered more assists than any other Azzurri player during qualifying (3) and created seven more chances than any of his teammates (15). Barella also assisted two goals during Italy’s successful Euro 2020 campaign, and he got his Euro 2024 off to a fine start with a terrific goal.

Barella pass map v Albania

The rapid turnaround was complete in the 16th minute when Barella fired a first-time effort from the edge of the box past Thomas Strakosha’s right after Gianluca Scamacca’s pass across the penalty area had caused Albanian panic.

Surprisingly, it was only the second time that two Inter players had scored in a single match at a major tournament for Italy; the first since Roberto Boninsegna and Tarcisio Burgnich scored against West Germany at the 1970 World Cup.

Before this game, Italy’s 45 matches at the European Championship had produced 1.84 goals on average (52 for, 31 against), the lowest ratio of any of the 25 teams to have taken part in 10+ matches in the competition, so it was perhaps also a sign of a new era that there had been three in this game after just 16 minutes.

Some may have seen Albania has big underdogs, but after losing their first Euro 2024 qualifier against Poland, they didn’t lose any of their next seven (W4 D3). For the first time in their history, Albania finished top of their qualifying group for a major international tournament.

Half of their outfield starting lineup on Saturday was made up of players who represent Italian teams at club level (Bajrami, Berat Djimsiti, Elseid Hysaj, Ylber Ramadani and Kristjan Asllani), so there was inevitably an air of familiarity on display.

However, despite that incredible start, Sylvinho’s men struggled to compete with Italy, who dominated the remainder of the first half, with Davide Frattesi and Scamacca both denied by fine Strakosha saves.

That momentum dampened in the second half, with Federico Chiesa whizzing a shot narrowly past the far post the only memorable attempt from Italy after the break.

Albania substitute Rey Manaj came close to an unlikely equaliser late on, but his dinked effort went agonisingly wide of the far post. It appeared the ball flicked off Donnarumma, but a goal-kick was awarded by the officials.

Spalletti’s men struggled to put the game to bed, but Italy ultimately saw out a one-goal victory. Italian sides of yesteryear would have been somewhat proud.

Legendary Azzurri teams so often featured grizzled veterans aplenty, lots of ‘nouse’ and experience, grinding out victories, and this wasn’t exactly that.

A defence finally without the influence of Giorgio Chiellini or Leonardo Bonucci at a major tournament showed cracks at times, but also an energy to get out of trouble.

Riccardo Calafiori (22 years, 27 days) became the second-youngest Italy defender to play a match in European Championship history, after a certain Paolo Maldini (19 years, 350 days). His performance was not as cultured as Maldini’s often were, but he and Bastoni kept Armando Broja under control and the first 23 seconds aside, rarely looked troubled.

Italy’s new class will face sterner tests than Albania at this tournament, but also showed that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Our Opta match centre delivers you all the Italy vs Albania stats from their Euro 2024 Group B clash at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund.

The match centre below includes team and player stats, expected goals data, passing networks, an Opta chalkboard and more. It gives you everything you need to do your own post-match analysis.

Underneath the match centre you can find the official Opta stats on the game as well. 

Italy vs Albania: Post-Match Facts

  • Nedim Bajrami’s goal after 23 seconds for Albania against Italy is the fastest goal ever scored at the UEFA European Championship finals.
  • Italy have gone 10 games unbeaten in the a European Championship for the second time in their history (W7 D3), previously doing so in their first 10 matches in the competition between June 1968 and June 1988 (W4 D6).
  • Italy have won their opening match at the European Championships on each of the last three occasions (2016 and 2020 editions also), after doing so only twice in their first eight such appearances (D5 L1).
  • Albania have now lost three of their four matches at the Euros (W1), though have scored in each of their last two games in the competition after failing to do so in their opening two games in 2016.
  • Italy are just the third side to score in 10 successive games at a European Championship finals after England in June 2012 (11 games) and Portugal in June 2004 (10 games).
  • Albania have now lost all five of their games against Italy in all competitions; they’ve only played Spain (8 games), Austria (7 games) and England (6 games) more often and subsequently lost each time.
  • Nicolò Barella notched his 10th goal for the Italian national team, with the midfielder netting in successive international appearances for the first time since June 2019.
  • Italy’s Federico Chiesa became the first player at a European Championship to record at least three shots, three successful dribbles (4) and win possession in the final third at least three times since Denmark’s Mikkel Damsgaard against Belgium in June 2021.

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