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Euro 2024 Group B predictions: Holders can top tough group
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Ian Wilkerson
Luciano Spalletti appears to have got Italy heading in the right direction since his appointment in August
Luciano Spalletti appears to have got Italy heading in the right direction since his appointment in August

- Italy have won five of their last seven matches
- Albania are unbeaten in their last eight competitive games
- Recommended bet:
Italy to win Group B

Group B looks set to be one of the most hotly contested at this year’s European Championship as it not only contains holders Italy but also World Cup semi-finalists Croatia.

However, the betting in the section is headed by Spain, who will look to bounce back from an underwhelming World Cup and are nurturing the next generation after their golden era which saw them win this trophy in 2008 and 2012.

The quartet is completed by Albania, a hard-working outfit who won their qualifying group, so are no longer the easy opponents they have perhaps been in the past.

Spain (4/5 to win Group B): La Roja could be flimsy group favourites

Spain, who fell to winners Italy on penalties in the semi-finals of Euro 2020, find themselves up against the Azzurri again — in the group stage this time, and the quality of Grpup B means they may be slightly under-priced to take the honours.

La Roja claimed victory in last season’s Nations League, but their World Cup was a disappointment despite starting with a 7-0 thumping of Costa Rica.

Manager Luis de la Fuente, who took over from Luis Enrique following their last-16 exit to Morocco on penalties, has come up through the Spanish national youth ranks and it is still possible that he will go into battle without influential midfielders Pedri and Gavi.

Manchester City’s Rodri has established himself as one of Europe’s best defensive midfielders, but they lost their first qualifier 2-0 to Scotland before getting their act together, so they may be difficult to rely upon.

Skipper and striker Alvaro Morata has always needed plenty of chances to register and it could just be that there is better Group B value elsewhere.

Italy (2/1 to win Group B): Holders equipped to come out on top

Holders Italy will be led by Luciano Spalletti, who took over from Roberto Mancini last year, and even though expectation seems a little low as champions, they could more than make their mark.

The Azzurri finished second to England in Group C having lost both games to the Three Lions, but Spalletti still has a well-rounded squad despite the absence of some of the experience that helped them to glory three years ago.

They have extensive forward options and a world-class goalkeeper in Gianluigi Donnarumma, and the fixture computer may have been kind to them with their first game coming against unfancied Albania.

They definitely look capable of winning the section.

Croatia (9/2 to win Group B): Old guard will still be key to challenge

Croatia are still reliant on their ageing stars with Luka Modric still the heartbeat of the side
Croatia are still reliant on their ageing stars with Luka Modric still the heartbeat of the side

Croatia, who reached the semi-finals at the 2022 World Cup but have never made a huge impression at the Euros, will again rely on the familiar faces to help them through a difficult group.

Luka Modric remains the star turn but the amount of concern that Ivan Perisic is injured after his underwhelming spell at Tottenham shows how much they are still relying on the experienced members of their squad.

Josko Gvardiol has impressed for Manchester City, but Croatia finished second in their qualifying group to Turkey, losing at home to the section toppers while also losing 2-1 in Cardiff to Wales, so they could have a real battle on their hands.

Albania (11/4 to qualify): Underdogs not just making up the numbers

Albania have been unfortunate to be placed in such a tough section in only their second major tournament appearance but they could still make life difficult for the more-fancied trio.

They deserve to be there having won their group and the lack of expectation that surrounds the well-organised and disciplined team could help them do well.

They are the second-lowest ranked team in the competition, but they are unbeaten in their last eight competitive games.

The squad should have a strong Serie A presence, including playmaker Kristjan Asllani who has just won the title with Inter, so they are no mugs, even though qualification from this group will be tough.


Spain have been chalked up as favourites to win what is being named Euro 2024’s Group of Death, and their price looks short enough with pre-tournament injury concerns and an inexperienced coach.

Croatia’s old guard cannot go on forever and Albania could act just as spoilers, so the value to win the group appears to lie with Italy, who are defending the competition and have the all-round ability to come out on top of the section.



SpainItalyCroatiaAlbaniaEuropean Championship
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