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European Championship 2024 Group B: Schedule & Preview – Italy, Spain, Croatia & Albania

European Championship 2024 Group B features former European champions Italy and Spain, 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia and minnows Albania.

Let’s take a quick look at the dates and times these four teams will play each other, their chances of advancing into the knockout stage and details about all Euro 2024 squads

Euro 2024 Group A Fixtures & Schedule

  • Saturday, June 15 (17:00) – Spain vs Croatia
  • Saturday, June 15 (20:00) – Italy vs Albania
  • Wednesday, June 19 (14:00) – Croatia vs Albania
  • Thursday, June 20 (20:00) – Spain vs Italy
  • Monday, June 24 (20:00) – Albania vs Spain
  • Monday, June 24 (20:00) – Croatia vs Italy

Euro 2024 Group B: Teams & Preview 

Group B rightfully carries the title of a ‘group of death.’

Spain and Italy boast five European Championship titles. Croatia’s recent results at major international tournaments make them one of the outside candidates to lift the trophy for the first time.

It’s Albania’s second-ever appearance on the biggest continental stage, and they couldn’t have picked a more challenging section to celebrate their Euro return for the first time since 2016.

Defending champions Italy and Spain, the only European side to have won back-to-back titles, are the favourites to progress into the knockout stage, but no one would dare to write Croatia off before the kick-off.

Albania – Minnows from the Balkans out to disrupt the natural order

  • Manager: Sylvinho
  • Star Player: Armando Broja

Since their only previous appearance at a major tournament in 2016, the Albanians have again vanished from the scene, missing out on the last Euros and back-to-back World Cups.

But they’re back, largely thanks to former Barcelona ace Sylvinho, who took charge of the national team in January 2023, bringing in ex-Manchester City captain Pablo Zabaleta as part of his backroom staff.

Despite losing both internationals ‘to nil’ in 2024, the formidable duo have turned Albania’s fortunes around, guiding them to the top of their qualifying group ahead of Czechia and Poland.

From a non-football nation, Albania has recently become a factory of talents.

Standout performer Armando Broja plies his trade in the Premier League, while five first-team stars play a prominent role for their clubs in Serie A.

Inter Milan’s Kristjan Asllani has just won the Scudetto. Berat Djimsiti was part of the Atalanta squad which halted Bayer Leverkusen’s 51-game unbeaten run in a dominant Europa League triumph.

Although the odds remain heavily stacked against them, Albania could be more than an idle threat to more heavily fancied nations in this fiercely competitive group.

Croatia – Modric’s last dance destined to cause havoc in ‘group of death’

  • Manager: Zlatko Dalic
  • Star Player: Luka Modric

Croatia’s quarter-final exit to Turkey in 2008 remains their best run at the Euros, but they’ve been flirting with a top honour under Zlatko Dalic’s tutelage over the past six years.

France defeated them in the 2018 World Cup final, while Argentina’s inexorable march to the Jules Rimet trophy in 2022 condemned them to a third-place finish in Qatar.

So they’ve come close to bringing home a first piece of silverware twice in the last three tournaments, and it’s unlikely their opponents’ stature will scare them off.

After all, they have a Ballon d’Or winner in their midst.

Real Madrid stalwart Luka Modric will captain his country at the Euros one last time, and the 38-year-old is still one of Europe’s most skilled midfielders.

Premier League winner Mateo Kovacic and Cristiano Ronaldo’s teammate Marcelo Brozovic are the remaining parts of Croatia’s star-studded midfield that bids to lead the Blazers over the finish line this time.

Italy – Reigning holders with a point to prove

  • Manager: Luciano Spalletti
  • Star Player: Federico Chiesa

Italy stunned England in the Euro 2020 final, but missing out on back-to-back World Cups unequivocally shows Italian football has been grappling with underlying issues.

Luciano Spalletti’s appointment after a Scudetto-winning season with Napoli last September was designed to address their inconsistency problems.

However, it’s hard to say Spalletti has passed the test with flying colours as Gli Azzurri sneaked into Euro 2024, edging Ukraine on a superior head-to-head record alone.

Italy’s days of producing top-notch talents are gone, and the national team now relies on seasoned veterans and a few emerging prospects to carry them through international challenges.

Federico Chiesa was instrumental in the Italians’ unexpected success three years ago. But his career has since been plagued by injuries and misunderstandings with ex-Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri.

Nevertheless, he remains the cornerstone of Italy’s Euro 2024 squad, which probably best illustrates the depth of Spalletti’s problems.

Spain – Rejuvenated Furia want what was theirs

  • Manager: Luis de la Fuente
  • Star Player: Rodri

Spain has not found its feet on the big stage since the glory days of ‘tiki-taka’ between 2008 and 2012.

They have not advanced past the round of 16 in their last three World Cup appearances, while Italy ended their run at Euro 2020 in the semi-finals.

La Furia Roja have been terminally unable to regain their place among the continental elite since waving goodbye to Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez.

But things are going in the right direction under new manager Luis de la Fuente, with Spain running full steam ahead to a top-table finish in their qualifying group, dropping points just once in eight games.

Credit goes to the emergence of an exciting new crop of talents, headlined by Barcelona’s prodigious forward Lamine Yamal and Athletic Bilbao’s sensation Nico Williams.

However, the true leader of this new-look team is Man City midfield dynamo Rodri.

He has been an essential part of the Cityzens’ unprecedented four consecutive Premier League titles and has never failed to translate his club form to the international scene.

See our main Euro 2024 page for more group previews, all Euro 2024 squads and lots more!

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