It’s always challenging to make a prediction on the Italy squad, especially with the Euro 2024 tournament around the corner The Italian national soccer team has created a dilemma due to its recent struggles in World Cup qualifying. However, the team was successful in Euro tournaments, where it is the reigning champions. Nevertheless, they redeemed themselves at Euro 2020 following its failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Former coach Roberto Mancini utilized the UEFA Nations League to experiment with different tactics. Following Mancini’s departure to coach Saudi Arabia, Luciano Spalletti took over as head coach. Riding high from his successful stint with Napoli, he has brought that momentum to his position with the national team.

Crucial mistake

In Italy’s March friendly against Venezuela where the Azzurri won 2-1, Spalletti pointed out his team’s crucial mistake in conceding the first goal. It was an error on a triangle pass between goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura. The latter was filling in as center-back. The casualness of their passing inside the box led to the goal, which would not be acceptable at Euro 2024. While Spalletti may overlook this mistake in a Friendly match, it will receive criticism if repeated during the tournament in June.

Scoring struggles: Italy’s need for strong strikers

Italy boasts an abundance of top-tier defenders and midfielders, making their team stacked with elite talent. However, their strikers have yet to demonstrate their potential in major tournaments. 

Players such as Giacomo Raspadori, Mateo Retegui, and Gianluca Scamacca are generating excitement leading up to the tournament. However, Retegui must replicate his strong performances and goals for Italy. Scamacca and Raspadori aim to make a similar impact. If not, Italy can rely on their midfielders to take long-range shots from outside the 18-yard box. 

For instance, Roma’s captain, Lorenzo Pellegrini, has repeatedly come through for his team by scoring crucial goals in transition situations. Coach Luciano Spalletti needs to utilize Pellegrini’s skills in the midfield, regardless of the lackluster statistics of their strikers. It will require a combination of players to compensate for the scoring deficiencies. Failure to score could result in a disappointing performance similar to their qualifying campaign for Qatar 2022. Italy failed to qualify because they had multiple draws due to solid defense but weak offense.

Considering this, we have carefully analyzed and selected the best starting lineup for the Nazionale. Utilizing a 3-4-2-1 formation commonly employed by various coaches in Serie A, it allows the players to adapt to tactics they’re already comfortable with from their club teams. However, coach Spalletti may tailor it to something other than the opponent on game day. 

Italy squad prediction

Gianluigi Donnarumma | Paris Saint-Germain | Goalkeeper

Without a doubt, Donnarumma can handle any situation thrown his way. Yet, in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League match against Barcelona, PSG received widespread criticism for Donnarumma’s positioning errors. He let in three goals during their 3-2 defeat. The initial goal was due to a mistake in his clearance. Further, he was off guard for the third goal. In a sense, this allows Donnarumma to prove himself again at Euro 2024.

Giovanni di lorenzo | Napoli | Defender

Even though he’s not the captain of the Azzurri, Di Lorenzo’s position as captain of Napoli makes him a respected leader among his teammates. 

In addition to his allegiance to Napoli, he rejected the offer from Manchester United. Nevertheless, he signed a contract with ‘The Parthenopeans’, paying homage to the city’s ancient Greek and Roman heritage since prehistoric times.

Essentially, Di Lorenzo resembles Gianluca Zambrotta. The former defender is considered by many to be the most outstanding defensive winger in Italian history.

Gianluca Mancini | Roma | Defender

At six feet tall and with formidable physical strength, Mancini is a versatile central defender. He can thrive in a three- or four-person defensive formation. His exceptional heading skills make him a threat in the opposing team’s penalty area. Ultimately, Mancini’s aerial mobility adds another dimension to his impressive abilities.

Ever since April, Gianluca Mancini has been making headlines. First, he scored the winning goal in the Rome derby against Lazio. Then, he headed a corner kick into the net against AC Milan in the Europa League. After beating Lazio, Mancini taunted their fans by waving a ‘rat flag’ in their baby blue team colors. In response, Roma fans created a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay the fine issued by Serie A for his actions.

Federico Dimarco | Inter Milan | Defender

Federico DiMarco shares a playing style with Roberto Carlos. The former Brazilian defender was known for his powerful shots during set-pieces. In a recent friendly between Italy and Ecuador, the Inter Milan Champion blasted a shot into the wall, which then deflected perfectly for Lorenzo Pellegrini to volley into the net with his left foot. 

Federico Dimarco’s free-kick deflection leads to Lorenzo Pellegrini’s stunning volley.

With 19 career goals across all competitions, the 26-year-old defender has proven his prowess on the field. Not only does he have impressive shooting abilities, but DiMarco possesses a low center of gravity. His strong stature makes him an effective box-to-box player. He is just one example of how Italian soccer has evolved. DiMarco can play left and right back positions while taking powerful shots from outside the box.

Lorenzo Pellegrini | Roma | Central midfielder

Pellegrini played a crucial role in both goals for his team in the second leg of Roma’s 2-1 win against Milan in the Europa League. The first goal was possible thanks to his well-placed shot that hit off the post and landed perfectly for Gianluca Mancini. The second goal was an impressive long pass from Pellegrini, leading to Lukaku’s hold-up play and Dybala’s precise finish into the far post.

While he wears Roma’s number 7 jersey, he is clearly Italy’s number 10 especially since he struck a mind-boggling screamer in the third minute against Ecuador back in March.

Federico Chiesa | Juventus | Winger

Among the players credited for Italy’s Euro 2020 Championship win is the 26-year-old Juventus star. Chiesa was a dominating presence on the wing, making daring runs from one end of the field to the other. He has an intense energy that requires him to be double-teamed. However, his fearless style of play also led to a severe injury that kept him off the field for ten months. 

It remains to be seen if he can fully recover and return to his prime form. In his senior career, Chiesa has scored 52 goals across all competitions, with most of them achieved during his impressive stint at Fiorentina. With his exceptional dribbling skills and endless stamina, Chiesa is expected to rapidly accelerate and constantly challenge defenders. Ultimately, he will follow in the footsteps of his father, Enrico Chiesa, who performed for the Azzurri at Euro 1996. 

Our Pick:

Includes: Premier League, Liga MX, Ligue 1, + 84 Sports Channels

7-Day Free Trial

Nicolo Zaniolo | Aston Villa | Attacking midfielder

Zaniolo is renowned for his strength and willingness to engage in physical battles with opponents during hold-up plays. He often gains significant yards before passing the ball to a better-positioned teammate. He uses his size and agility to avoid succumbing to pressure and losing possession of the ball too quickly. However, he is unapologetic about his fouls and will not hesitate to slide tackle or stiff-arm an opponent who tries to take the ball from him. 

While he can move gracefully, he is not afraid to seek retribution if necessary. Despite this aggressive playstyle, Zaniolo often finds himself on the receiving end of fouls but is rarely granted a call by referees due to his reputation on the field. However, Italy values his physical prowess and ability to create attacking opportunities through hold-up play, similar to Gennaro Gattuso’s scrappy and aggressive nature on the field. Zaniolo shares a demeanor identical to Gattuso and plays with a style reminiscent of Luca Toni. These comparisons make him a valuable asset that combines both qualities into one player.

Jorginho | Arsenal | Central midfielder

Jorginho is arguably the most refined player on the Azzurri team. He carries himself with the confidence of a general. Whether he wears the captain’s armband or not, he exudes leadership qualities in his conduct. Jorginho is a stalwart in the midfield. He has a decorated history in the English Premier League, making 143 appearances and scoring 21 goals for Chelsea before joining Arsenal and adding another 37 appearances to his record.

Though he has yet to score for ‘The Gunners,’ Italy can rely on him to control the game’s rhythm from the middle of the field and use his commanding presence to shield the ball during hold-up plays. As a deep-lying playmaker, Jorginho is skilled at winning defensive battles. His skills are essential to Italy’s success, as he enables their defenders to thrive.

Moreover, he is adept at creating space for through balls by eluding opponents with strategic off-ball movement. With impressive maneuvering abilities, sharp left-footed shots, and quick counter-attack initiation skills, Jorginho is a multi-faceted threat both in attack and defense. While some fans may have criticized Mikel Arteta’s decisions regarding this Brazilian-Italian midfielder during his time as manager at Arsenal, there is no doubt that Jorginho’s brilliance remains unquestioned among his teammates.

Nicolo Barella | Inter Milan | Central midfielder

Marcello Lippi says the Inter Milan champion is Italy’s shining star. Nicolo Barella has established himself as the nation’s top midfielder, which is no small feat considering he competes with talented players like Roma Captain Pellegrini, Chiesa, and Jorginho. Even Andrea Pirlo has praised Barella for possessing exceptional qualities that set him apart from his peers.

“The two things that Italians love in midfielders are intellect and having an old head on young shoulders – someone who can withstand pressure and play with composure. That is what Barella has.” Andrea Pirlo said

Barella is known for his composure during play and his strong defensive skills. He often retrieves balls from the opposing team. In a friendly match between Italy and Ecuador at Red Bull Arena in New York last March, he impressed with his perfect “chip” goal. It was reminiscent of another player he models himself after: Francesco Totti, famously skilled at mastering the “panenka” technique.

Barella scores the 2nd goal in Italy’s 2-0 victory over Ecuador

Giacomo Raspadori | Napoli | Second forward

At 24 years old, this forward has the most to prove on the team. He is known for his impressive ability to play equally well with both feet. His ambidextrous ability makes him a versatile player who can excel in various attacking positions such as second striker, center forward, or even winger. 

However, despite his success at Sassuolo, he has only scored seven goals in 57 appearances for Napoli since joining them in 2022. Thus, Spalletti can partially rely on him for scoring goals. However, Raspadori’s talent lies in his ability to create opportunities for his teammates as a playmaker.

Moreover, Raspadori understands that winning is more important than personal ego. In many ways, he resembles the modern-day Antonio Di Natale, who was also known for his flexibility and powerful strikes with either foot during Italy’s campaign at Euro 2012. 

Raspadori has the potential to reach superstar status. Nevertheless, this can only be achieved through his impressive assists and scoring goals for the Italian national team on the world’s biggest stage.

Mateo Retegui | Genoa | Forward

At 6’1″, Retegui has an impressive ability to turn and shoot on goal quickly. His scoring style is similar to Roberto Baggio’s, incorporating a mix of finesse and technique through well-placed shots. After Lorenzo Insigne’s remarkable goals in Euro 2020 led Italy to victory, the country desperately needed another player like him. Mateo Retegui has displayed potential and could fill that role.

Transferred initially on loan in Argentina’s Primera Division, Retegui made a name for himself at Tigre with an impressive 30 goals in only 48 appearances. Now playing for Genoa in the Seria A, where his grandparents immigrated from before settling in Argentina, Retegui is a formidable addition to Italy’s national team. Some may even draw comparisons to Mauro Camoranesi, another Argentine-Italian player who helped lead Italy to victory in the 2006 World Cup.

Retegui has already impacted Italy’s qualifying campaign, scoring a goal against England in their 2-1 loss last year.

Euro 2024

Here are some resources to get you ready for Euros!
Euro Bracket: Download a free PDF bracket for the tournament
Euro 2024 Schedule: Full schedule of all games for the 2024 tournament
How to watch: Information on where to find the games on TV and streaming
How to Stream Learn how you can stream Euro games live in 2024
2024 Soccer Calendar: Get the lowdown on what will be a busy year in soccer