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HomeSports“Band of Death” in euros is “Band of the Dead”

“Band of Death” in euros is “Band of the Dead”

Date: July 12, 2024 Time: 17:42:47

In the last Champions League, Group F initially seemed the most powerful: PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Milan and Newcastle. It was immediately called the “group of death.” But in reality it turned out to be a “group of dead people.” All four teams were very problematic, the quality of their football was very different from expectations (even though these were our problems).

Yes, the intrigue in the group lasted until the last minutes of the last tour. Yes, PSG and Dortmund subsequently died in the semi-finals. And then the Germans besieged Real Madrid for 75 minutes in the final. But the fact remains: the “group of death” turned out to be a “group of the dead.” Everyone made mistakes, everyone lost points, everyone managed to disappoint. Even those who made the playoffs.

At Euro 2024, the “group of death” is Quartet B: Spain, Italy, Croatia, Albania. Let’s immediately take Albania out of brackets. This is a very strong team, it surely won’t be easy for anyone. But on paper it looks noticeably weaker than its rivals.

The main interests are Spain, Italy and Croatia. The Italians are the current European champions, the Spanish won the Nations League, the Croatians won prizes in the last two World Cups. The three teams have a name and status. But its current state is much more important. And here there are questions. The “group of death” can once again be a “group of the dead.”

Let’s start with Spain. Euro 2024 is the first major tournament for coach Luis de la Fuente. He already won the Youth Euro Cup. But adult soccer is a completely different story.

After a year and a half of work, De la Fuente certainly got used to the new conditions. She has already won the Nations League with Spain and confidently led it to the European Championship. But even compared to this, the final part of a major tournament is a special phenomenon. Preparing for such a tournament and working under time pressure along the way is very different from any other training job. De la Fuente encounters all this for the first time. And whether she can handle it is a question.


Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

The Spanish team also includes debutants from major tournaments. The main player on the right in attack is Lamin Yamal, who will turn 17 on the eve of the Euro Cup final. For Yamal to celebrate his birthday in Germany, the Spaniards will have to work hard. Well, or you just can’t leave after departure. Additionally, Real Sociedad’s Robin Le Normant now plays in the center of defence. He is older than Yamal, he is already 27 years old. But when it comes to the first major tournament, the age of the footballer does not matter so much. He has no experience in this type of match, that is key.

For the first time, Alejandro Grimaldo, Martín Subimendi, Alex Baena, Fermín López, Ajosé Pérez, Mark Cucurella, Dani Vivian, Mikel Merino and even Joselu, 34, are going to a big tournament! Certainly not everyone will be on the base or even near it. Maybe someone will never go out into the field. But in any case, Spain has many newcomers. They are of different ages, different statuses, from different clubs, but they are new to big tournaments. And in such cases, experience often plays a decisive role.

Isco, who had a master season at Betis, could add experience. But he was injured and will miss the tournament. With Isco, Spain lost not only an experienced player. She lost her star, her leader. There are few of them in the current team.

Not only Isco was injured before the Euro Cup:


All the players who will miss Euro 2024 due to injury. LIVE

It is clear that Spanish football is mainly based on collective interactions. This was the case during the golden era of the Spanish team, from 2008 to 2012. But in those years, almost everyone, from Puyol and Xabi Alonso to Iniesta and Torres, could become a leader at the right moment. There are far fewer people like that in the current team.

Perhaps there is only one “repairer” of reinforced concrete: Rodri. He is a robot: he always gives the highest quality. And in the most necessary moments it can provide even higher quality than usual. Last season, in addition to a brilliant game, he also scored often: eight goals in the Premier League. Man can do absolutely anything.

Other players can also decide, but with the exception of “maybe”. Yamal, Nico Williams, Morata, Oyarzabal: all this is “maybe.” None of them are world stars of the first magnitude. Morata and Oyarzabal, due to their age, will no longer be there, Niko is debatable. Yamal is on his way to achieving it, but he is only 16 years old. Despite all his talents, he can be unstable, and this is absolutely normal.

As for Croatia, their experience is just good. In the case of Croatians, “experienced team” is equivalent to “old team.” Well, or, to put it mildly, grow old. Luka Modric is 38 years old, Marcelo Brozovic is 31, Mateo Kovacic is 30, Andrej Kramaric is 32, Anta Budimir is 32, Bruno Petkovic and Mario Pasalic will soon turn 30.

The Croatian leaders were not young in 2018. For Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup, some of them left due to age. And those who stayed aged even more.


Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

And now, Euro 2024. Croatia’s leaders remain the same. The class is still with them. But it is more difficult for them to run a lot and maintain the intensity. And the representatives of the new generation mostly sing. The new Modric, Brozovic and Rakitic are not yet visible in Croatia. The main star of the new generation is central defender Joshko Guardiol. The “players” who could take the midfield away from Modric, almost 39 years old, and Brozovic, 31, have not yet appeared.

The Croatians will play strictly for results. They will give the ball to both Spain and Italy and wait. They might even give the ball to Albania. Croatian leaders find it difficult to run far and fast, but they are very intelligent. In mental games they can beat any team.

It is very difficult to predict how Croatia will play in the Euro Cup. There are too many options: from the conditional quarterfinals to not leaving the group.

Luciano Spalletti will also make his debut in a major tournament. He has incomparably more experience in adult football than Luis de la Fuente. But previously Spalletti only worked with clubs. But national teams and especially big tournaments are different. So for Luciano, Euro 2024 is a new and very serious test, a test that he has never faced before.

Spalletti took charge of Italy urgently, after Roberto Mancini’s monetary management against Saudi Arabia. Nine months have passed since then and Spalletti has been searching all this time. He looks for a suitable scheme, tries different combinations. And there is the feeling that Luciano has not yet decided what plan A is.

Most of the time, Italy plays with three central defenders. But in a recent friendly against Türkiye we played with four. However, in the last freight train before the Euro Cup, against Bosnia, there were three centre-backs again.

Before the European Championship, the center of defense seemed perhaps the most manned area of ​​the Italian team. An excellent combination came from Inter: Bastogne – Acerbi – Darmian. Behind the scenes, in any case, Scalvini of Atalanta. But just before the Euro, Acerbi flew out for the first time, and then, in the insignificant Atalanta-Fiorentina match, Scalvini broke his crosses.


Photo: Claudio Villa/Getty Images for FIGC

Spalletti also had to call up Gianluca Mancini and Federico Gatti. In addition, there is Alessandro Buongiorno from Torino and Riccardo Calafiori from Bologna, who became one of the main discoveries in Serie A. There are options in the center of defense, but with Scalvini and Acerbi it would definitely be better. One of them would definitely play at the beginning.

But Italy has very few options in attack. It is meager even compared to Euro 2020. Then the attack consisted of Immobile, Berardi and Belotti, who came on as a substitute. Now the line of attack has been further depleted. There is Scamacca, who had an excellent second part of the season at Atalanta. There is Chiesa, who returned after the “crosses”, but last season he never found himself. The naturalized Argentine Mateo Retegui was called up from Genoa.

Overall, the fact that Italy had to naturalize Retegui says a lot about the quality of the Italian forwards. Mateo is a decent striker. But for some reason the Argentine team was not interested in him. They decided that with Lautaro Martínez and Julián Álvarez alive, they could do without Retegui. And Italy is finding it harder to do without it.

Our assumptions on how the euro will fare:

11 versions of Euro 2024 from the authors of the “Championship”

The forwards in Group B are in general trouble. Spain, Italy and Croatia do not have a single top-level striker between them. Compared to his forwards, Rubin’s Albanian Mirlind Daku looks like nothing at all. It seems that a powerful battle awaits us in the midfield, almost like a battle between telepaths on the astral plane. It can be quite exciting tactically, but it’s not exactly spectacular.

At Euro 2012, Spain, Italy and Croatia were also in the same group. And with them was the Irish team, which, like the Albanians now, seemed like an outsider. The Irish ended up losing all three games. And Spaniards, Italians and Croatians fought until the last minutes. Everything was decided at the end of the third round: Spain scored against Croatia, won 1-0 and left the group together with Italy. There was great drama and high quality football. The Spanish then faced the Italians in the final.

You can’t swim in the same river twice. But let Spain, Italy and Croatia at least try. From their group, as in 2012, they want a lot of spectacle: drama and great football. However, until the first games there are doubts that we will achieve all this.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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