Football

Euro 2024: Luciano Spalletti Confident That Italy Can Live Up To Fans' Dreams

Gianluigi Donnarumma was the hero in the Euro 2020 final, saving Bukayo Saka's penalty in the shootout to ensure victory for the Azzurri

Italy head coach, Luciano Spalletti.
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Luciano Spalletti is confident Italy can live up to expectations as they aim to win a second consecutive Euros title. (More Football News)

Roberto Mancini led Italy to Euro 2020 glory during an impressive 37-game unbeaten run as they beat England 3-2 on penalties at Wembley Stadium.

Since taking over, Spalletti led Italy to qualification for the tournament and is unbeaten in six matches.

Now trying to emulate his predecessor's success, the 65-year-old is confident his squad have what it takes to become just the second team to win back-to-back editions of the tournament.

"For any child that goes out every evening and sweats, grazes their knees, then we are their heroes, what they dream of," he said.

"It's up to us to live up to that. Giants and heroes don't go out with fear; they go out with passion and belief. Every one of us needs to ensure they have their toolbox and can screw or unscrew what they need to.

"We have our own brand of football, and need to keep faith in it, but sometimes your opponents stop you. That's football! But I'm confident we can impose our game plan."

Spalletti also confirmed Nicolo Barella could be in contention for Italy's opener against Albania after overcoming a muscle injury that kept him out of their warm-up friendlies.

"Yesterday he did everything," Spalletti added. "We will see what happens today. We will see how he feels.

"But as of yesterday evening, everything suggests that he will be available for selection."

Gianluigi Donnarumma was the hero in the Euro 2020 final, saving Bukayo Saka's penalty in the shootout to ensure victory for the Azzurri.

Now captaining the side, the goalkeeper is hoping to get off to a positive start against Albania to avoid any early nerves over their fate in the competition.

"This match is the biggest banana skin in our group," Donnarumma said. "We have to be 100 per cent switched on. Albania have a lot of pace, a lot of threat. This match will be hugely important.

"When you prepare to embark on a competition like this, then you can only be motivated. We start in the same spirit of three years ago, and we will try to recreate the magic of 2021. The survivors of three years ago will certainly give the newer players a few pointers.

"If we win tomorrow night, it will be a big step to qualification. Winning will put us in a strong position; not winning would put us under pressure."

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