Euro 2024: Italy coach Spalletti underscores importance of Spain clash

Euro 2024: Italy coach Spalletti underscores importance of Spain clash

Italy head coach Luciano Spalletti has described the Euro 2024 match against Spain as one of the most important games of his coaching career.

The defending champions will lock horns with Spain in the German city of Gelsenkirchen on Thursday with the winner guaranteed a spot in the knockout stage.

Italy started their Euro 2024 campaign with a 2-1 win against Albania while Spain humiliated Croatia 3-0 in their opening game.

The last time the two European heavyweights met was in June 2023 in the UEFA Nations League semi-final and Spain came out victorious with a 2-1 result.

Spalletti said in a press conference: “It is one of the most important game of my Italy career, yes. I’ve been through some important games, this is right up there.

“We all have a story to tell and when the players get to my age, they’ll know they’ll have stories to tell. This is one of those matches that could give them a tale to tell in the future.”

The former Napoli boss also hinted at his playing style for the crucial Group B encounter that will take place at Veltins-Arena.

Spalletti added: “Being aggressive means press and close them down. We will attempt to do that. There are certain times in the match when we need to figure out what to do, to realize when it’s time to go and when it’s time to drop off.

“It all comes down to our shape as a team. It depends on where on the pitch we are and which situations we find ourselves in.

“Even though we have not always succeeded in certain matches, and above all in certain spells in the games, we have tried to read and interpret matches in the same way – we want to press the opposition.

“And we want to press them aggressively. When it comes to reacting very quickly, one of the issues is to make sure you need to move tidy. Otherwise, Spain won’t lose possession unless you hurry them. You have to press them, we will try to do so and see if we are better than them in possession.”

The last time Italy defeated Spain was in Euro 2020 semi-final via penalty shoot-out, on their way to lifting the coveted European trophy in England.

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