Euro 2024 Group B Preview: Italy Fights to Keep Title, Faces Spain and Croatia in 'Group of Death'

Euro 2024 Group B Preview: Italy Fights to Keep Title, Faces Spain and Croatia in 'Group of Death'

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at June 11, 2024 at 6:15 AM
In this article:
UEFA European Championship logo
Italy logo
Spain logo
Croatia logo
Albania logo
Luka Modrić logo
L. Modrić
Real Madrid logoMCroatia logo
Lamine Yamal logo
FC Barcelona logoFSpain logo
Armando Broja logo
A. Broja
Chelsea logoFAlbania logo
Jorginho logo
Arsenal logoMItaly logo
  • Spain is arguably the strongest nation in what many have described as the 'Group of Death' of the 2024 UEFA European Championship
  • La Roja will fancy their chances of topping Group B due to recent performances but must overcome the defending champs, Italy
  • Meanwhile, 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia and fast-rising Albania will look at upsets in what promises to be an exciting Euro pool

PAY ATTENTION: Checkout Fixtures; Live Scores; Results and Tables section on Sports Brief and never miss out on the action ⚽️

Every major competition, like the UEFA European Championship, is marked by intense and closely contested matches.

These matches often feature a 'Group of Death', where the strongest teams face off against each other.

This year's tournament, the 17th since its inception in 1960, is no exception, with Group B shaping up to be a thrilling contest.

Group B, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Albania, Lamine Yamal, Jorginho, Luka Modric, Preview, Group of Death.
Group B pits some of Europe's heavyweights in Croatia, Spain and Italy in what promises to be a tough pool. Photos by Soccrates Images, Rafa Babot and NurPhoto.
Source: Getty Images

The group includes defending champions Italy, joint-record winners Spain, 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia, and the rapidly emerging Albania.

Sports Brief offers an in-depth look at each team in Group B and their respective matchups.

Additionally, be sure to check out our previews for Groups A, C, D, E and F.

Euro 2024 Group B Fixtures

15/06: Spain vs Croatia

15/06: Italy vs Albania

19/06: Croatia vs Albania

22/06: Spain vs Italy

24/06: Albania vs Spain

24/06: Croatia vs Italy.

Euro 2024 Group B Preview


Best finish: Winners (1964, 2008 and 2012)

Euro 2020: Semi-finals

The three-time champions arrive in Germany in blistering form, having dismantled Andorra and Northern Ireland in their warm-up matches with a remarkable 10 goals scored and only one conceded, per Football Espana.

Riding the momentum of an impressive qualifying campaign, which saw them achieve seven wins and just one defeat, Luis de la Fuente's squad is undeniably one of the favourites to excel in the competition.

However, before they can dream of securing an unprecedented fourth title, Spain must first navigate a challenging group stage.

With the emergence of 16-year-old Lamine Yamal, Rodri's midfield brilliance, and the consistent performances of veterans Dani Carvajal and Atletico Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, La Roja boasts a balanced blend of youth and experience.

Spain last claimed the Euro title in 2012, capping a golden era that included their 2010 FIFA World Cup triumph and the Euro 2008 victory.

Now, after two heart-wrenching shoot-out exits at major tournaments, including the round of 16 loss to Morocco in the 2022 World Cup, they are poised to shine once more.


Best finish: Quarter-finals (1996 and 2012)

Euro 2020: Round of 16

Croatia have never advanced beyond the quarter-finals in the European Championship, exiting in the Round of 16 stages in the previous two editions.

However, their remarkable journey to the 2018 World Cup final, followed by a run to the semi-finals four years later, stands as one of football's great underdog stories.

With an unbeaten streak that includes a victory over tournament favourites, Portugal, on their home turf, Zlatko Dalic's men enter Euro 2024 aiming to break their quarter-final curse.

Achieving this would mark a fitting climax to the career of captain, Luka Modric. At 38, he has won every possible club trophy with Real Madrid.

Most recently, he helped Los Blancos secure an unparalleled 15th UEFA Champions League title before heading to the tournament, Total Croatia reports.

Despite his age, Modric remains the linchpin of the Croatian team.

He is ably supported by Manchester City duo of Mateo Kovacic and Josko Gvardiol, as well as Marcelo Brozovic, all expected to provide the perfect supporting cast for the midfield maestro.


Best finish: Winners (1968 and 2020)

Euro 2020: Champions

This time, the Italians don't carry the burden of being favourites, but they should never be underestimated.

The Azzurri clinched Euro 2020 by defeating England on penalties, yet they lost both qualifying matches against the Three Lions. A 0-0 draw with Ukraine allowed them to narrowly avoid the play-offs.

Italy's struggles in qualification left them as bottom seeds in the draw, placing them in the toughest group, and they have not been out of the woods since.

According to Football Italia, Luciano Spalletti's side played a goalless draw with Turkey in one of their preparatory games, underlining their struggle for form in the build-up to the tournament.

The former Napoli boss, who replaced Roberto Mancini as coach in August 2023, will have to find a way to solve his side's lack of potency up front.

The primary goal threats during qualifying came from the midfield, with Davide Frattesi leading the scoring with three goals. However, Atalanta striker Gianluca Scamacca's resurgence could be a promising sign.

Spalletti will also depend on several players from Inter Milan's Scudetto-winning squad as they aim to assert their strength in the tournament once again.


Best finish: Group stages (2016)

Euro 2020: Did not qualify

Albania’s only prior appearance at the Euros was in 2016, where they failed to make it past the group stage.

They enter the tournament with confidence, having topped their qualifying group ahead of 1996 runners-up Czech Republic and Robert Lewandowski's Poland.

The Albanians would hope to surprise Italy in their opening match, leveraging on their numerous Serie A players who are well-acquainted with their opponents.

Under the guidance of Sylvinho, a former defender for Arsenal, Barcelona, and Manchester City, the Red and Blacks aspire to craft a remarkable underdog narrative by advancing from the 'Group of Death' and reaching the knockout rounds.

However, Sylvinho's charges have a challenging history against their Group B opponents. They have lost all four previous encounters with Italy and lost all eight matches against Spain.

This will also mark their first-ever match against Croatia.

Dark horse teams that could win Euro 2024

Sports Brief recently reported on the top dark horses that could win Euro 2024.

Ukraine, Denmark and Croatia - perennial overachievers - fall into this category.

The Vatreni could replicate Denmark's feat of 1992 or Greece's 2004 fairy-tale.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.