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Euro 2024: Italy head coach Spalletti says the Azzurri will not make ‘mistake’ of underestimating Spain

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Luciano Spalletti stated that Italy will stay true to their identity but will not make the “huge mistake” of underestimating Spain in their crucial Group B clash, Soccernet.football reports.

Italy began Euro 2024 with a 2-1 victory over Albania on Saturday, coming from behind after conceding the fastest goal in the tournament’s history at 23 seconds.

Spain, on the other hand, secured a 3-0 win over Croatia, placing both teams at the top of the group as they prepare to face each other in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday.

The winner of this match will take a significant step towards topping the group, which would potentially offer an easier route through the knockout stages.

When asked how Italy planned to handle Spain’s threat, Spalletti opted to commend their opponents for their style of play; “We have the utmost respect for Spain’s history and prestige and the quality of this current crop of players,” the head coach said. “But we mustn’t think that you’re better than you actually are. That would be a huge mistake.

“We are dressed in Giorgio Armani and Giorgio Armani is world-famous. So, we go there with the same suit, try and be true to our identity and play the same way.

“But, of course, we need to show the same desire as our opposition to test ourselves against one of the best footballing philosophies in world football.

“Once we are off the pitch, we need to make sure we have no regrets. We need to try and play our own game in our best clothes, but we are willing to scuff up our suit if required.”

Spalletti included Nicolo Barella in their opening game, with the midfielder starting and scoring despite being a major injury doubt leading up to the tournament.

The 65-year-old remained tight-lipped about his team selection for Thursday’s game; “I’ve not had any news on who’s starting for Spain,” Spalletti added.

“It is one of the most important matches of my career. I’ve already been through some important games, but this is certainly one of those that’s right up there.

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

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