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UEFA Euro 2024: Group B Preview, Tips And Predictions

Group A of UEFA Euro 2024 features Germany, Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland. The hosts share a border with the Swiss and those two nations are the highest ranked nations in the Group.

Euros 2024

Group B of UEFA Euro 2024 features Spain, Albania, Italy and Croatia. The Azzurri are looking to retain their crown whilst Albania could be the whipping boys of the group. La Roja are favoured to top the group as the best-ranked team of the four although both Italy and Croatia sit directly below them in the rankings.

Route To Qualification

Spain topped their qualifying group with a four-point gap to Scotland. They leaked just five goals and scored 25 in eight fixtures. Albania also finished top of their qualification group as they lost just one of eight matches thanks to a solid defence (four goals leaked in eight matches). 

Reigning Euros holders Italy reached the tournament after finishing behind England in Group C but ending above Ukraine on goal difference. Luciano Spalletti’s team missed out on the World Cup in Qatar and will have a big point to prove. Group B is completed by Croatia, with 38-year-old Luka Modric as captain. They surprisingly finished behind Turkiye in qualifying.

FIFA Rankings And Euros Pedigree

Spain are ranked 8th in the FIFA Rankings and won the Euros in 2008 and 2012. They reached the semi-finals in 2020 before losing to Italy on penalties.

Italy sits 9th in the FIFA rankings despite not playing at the last World Cup. They beat England in the final of the last European Championships. They finished as runners-up in both 2000 and 2012.

Croatia are 10th in the FIFA rankings. They have plenty of recent tournament pedigree having finished as runners-up in the 2018 World Cup and third place in 2022. They crashed out in the last 16 in both 2016 and 2020.

Albania are managed by former Arsenal left-back Sylvinho. They were ranked as high as 22nd in August 2015 but now sit 66th in the FIFA Rankings, below countries like Uzbekistan and Cabo Verde.

Key Men

Spain: Whilst Rodri is undoubtedly the best player and the key man, Spain have some incredible young attackers to enjoy. Lamine Yamal is just 16 years old and has come off a breakthrough season at FC Barcelona. Pedri is fit after two years of injury niggles and fellow 21-year-old Nico Williams will add speed down the flank. Joselu has snuck into the squad and is one to watch from the bench; he could be backed in the goalscorer market during in-running betting.

Croatia: Coach Zlatko Dalic is still leaning on his veteran midfield trio of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, and Marcelo Brozovic. Both Josko Gvardiol and Bayer Leverkusen loanee Josip Stanisic could add goals from defence. The latter could be a surprise package considering his late-season scoring streak with last-gasp goals against both Dortmund and AS Roma.

Italy: Considering that Ciro Immobile is not part of the squad, there isn’t an established international scorer. Nicolo Barella has nine Azzurri goals to his name, the top scorer in the 26-man squad. He will be key when breaking forward from midfield areas. Atalanta’s Gianluca Scamacca is expected to lead the line after 19 goals last term. Federico Chiesa and namesake Federico Dimarco will also be expected to contribute goals from wider areas.

Albania: One can’t look past Chelsea’s Armando Broja as the key man. The English-born striker had a tough 2023-24 season which included a bit-part loan spell at Fulham. His pace and power will have to carry Albania on the counter attack with several Serie A stalwarts in deeper areas. Atalanta’s Berat Djimsiti will anchor the backline and 22-year-old Inter Milan midfielder Kristjan Asllani will bring quality after 23 Serie A outings for last season’s Scudetto winners.

Predicted Finishing Places

1.       Spain
2.       Italy
3.       Croatia
4.       Albania

Betting Tips

Best Bet: Spain to finish top of Group B at 1.68
High-Value Bet: Croatia to crash out in the Group Stage at 3.25
Alternate Bet: Spain to reach the semi-finals at 2.35

James is a football analyst who writes about the tactics of the PSL and English Premier League. He holds the UEFA A coaching licence and has previously worked for several clubs in analysis roles.Twitter:

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