The winner guarantees qualification to the final 16. An early fiery confrontation between Italy and Spain

Written By Mark

The group stage of the 2024 European Cup in football is witnessing its strongest matches on paper today in Gelsenkirchen, when defending champion Italy meets Spain for the fifth time in a row in the continental championship, while England, dreaming of a first continental title, seeks to achieve its second victory when it meets Denmark in Frankfurt. In the second group, the two teams seek to build on their victory in the first round, after Italy overturned its deficit against Albania to a 2-1 victory and Spain beat Croatia 3-0.
The winner of the match will guarantee qualification to the final 16, after the second confrontation in this group between Croatia and Albania ended in a draw.
Italy defeated Spain in the last two editions, 2-0 in the 2016 edition, then on penalties in the semi-finals of the last edition, which was held in the summer of 2021. However, Spain defeated Italy 4-0 in the final of the 2012 edition after they tied 1-1 in the final. Group stage. They also met in the 2008 quarter-finals, when Spain won on penalties. Spain has won the title three times, most recently in 2012, and holds the record equal to Germany. In 40 confrontations between the two sides, Spain won 13 times, compared to 11 wins for Italy.

England is looking for its second victory against Denmark

Within the third group, England coach Gareth Southgate, looking for his second successive victory, must solve the dilemma of Phil Foden, who failed to transmit the infection of his brilliant performances in the ranks of his team, Manchester City, to the national team, when facing Denmark. Foden’s recent disappointing display with his country’s national team sparked controversy, About Southgate’s use of this amazing talent. The 24-year-old was named the best player in the English Premier League last season, after playing a major role in City winning their fourth title in a row, by scoring 19 goals and making eight assists.
But despite his impressive performances with City, he has not yet found himself in the ranks of his country’s national team.
He suffered during England’s journey to the final of the previous edition, which was held in the summer of 2021, as he started weakly in the first two matches and played for only 25 minutes, before missing the loss to Italy in the final match due to injury.
Foden also did not perform at his usual level in the Qatar World Cup when his team was eliminated in the quarter-finals against France. He scored one goal in the last 13 international matches and only 4 goals in 35 matches with his country.
The match is considered revenge for Denmark, which was defeated by England in the semi-finals of the last edition, losing 1-2 after extra time.
In a second match within the same group, Serbia will meet Slovenia in Munich.

Albania shocks Croatia with a draw and complicates its qualification

Albania snatched an important point that kept alive its hopes of reaching the final 16 after shocking Croatia with a late 2-2 draw that complicated its qualification in the second round of the second group competitions of the European Football Cup in Germany.
Croatia was on its way to achieving a difficult victory after it was overturned in two minutes by Andrej Kramaric (74) and substitute Klaus Ghiasola (76 fouls against his country’s team), and was delayed by a goal by Kazem Laci (11), before Ghiassola himself was able to equalize late (90+). 5).
The two teams achieved their first point with Albania ahead on goal difference, before the summit match between Spain and Italy, the defending champion, on Thursday.
Croatia’s third World Cup 2022 hopes of skipping the first round for the third time in a row, and the fifth in a row in major tournaments, declined before a difficult confrontation with the defending champion next Monday, while Albania will meet Spain on the same day.
Croatia suffered a humiliating loss to Spain 0-3, while Albania lost to Italy 1-2 in the first round.

Full marks for the ambition of Slovenia and Serbia

Slovenia is very confident before facing Serbia today after grabbing a point in its opening match, while the mood in the other team’s camp appears more pessimistic due to fears of injuries and the state of sadness surrounding the team captain.
After returning to participate in the European Championship for the second time 24 years after its first appearance, Slovenia is aware that victory will put it in a good position to advance from Group C, which also includes England and Denmark.
It is likely that coach Matiash Kek will rely on the same squad that played in the previous match, which does not include many veteran players except for captain and goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who is playing in his first major tournament with his country.
But several promising young players will be looking to make their mark, including 20-year-old striker Benjamin Sisko, who scored five goals in the tournament qualifiers and hit the woodwork against Denmark.
The news that midfielder Filip Kostic may have suffered a ligament injury in his left knee made optimism less in Serbia despite the strong performance against England, the candidate to top the group.
Serbia’s efforts will be to repeat the performance it presented after the end of the break against England, when it intensified the pressure and involved more attacking players in search of an equaliser.
Slovenia’s defense will have to test itself against Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic, but what raised concern in Serbia is the dissatisfaction of captain Dusan Tadic, who criticized his lack of starting participation after coach Stojkovic preferred to leave him on the bench and did not bring him in until an hour into the game.