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EURO 2024 Tracker: Italy start defence with comeback win over Albania in Dortmund

Updated
Italy celebrate Barella's goal
Italy celebrate Barella's goalAFP, Flashscore
EURO 2024's first full day of action is here with three mouthwatering clashes for us all to enjoy. Don't miss any of the action with Flashscore this Saturday as we bring you all the very best from Germany on day two of the championships.

23:35 CET - Throughout Euro 2024 we are going to be rounding up the day with three talking points and our day two edition is live now!

23:00 CET - Italy's players applaud their fans - as do Albania - with a sense of relief that they avoided the banana skin of a tough Group B. For Albania, that record-breaking goal in the 23rd second of the contest will show them that they can battle at this level, but the reigning champions had too much for them today.

Here are our player ratings from an absorbing match.

Italy - Albania player ratings
Italy - Albania player ratingsFlashscore

22:55 CET - Full time in Dortmund - Italy have come from behind after conceding the fastest ever Euros goal to beat Albania 2-1.

Match stats
Match statsOpta by StatsPerform

22:49 CET - Was that the chance?! A long ball over the top of the Italian defence finds Rey Manaj who beats Gianluigi Donnarumma, but his shot is cleared as it rolls along the face of the goal. 

22:47 CET - Italy playing keep ball now against Albania and they are doing a good job at limiting risk. Albania's manager Sylvinho urgently grabs the ball as it goes out, desperation time now for the Balkan side.

22:40 CET - Into the final 10 minutes of the contest and the pace really has gone out of both teams with tiredness kicking in. Still Albania battle valiantly, but an equaliser feels unlikely.

22:28 CET - Double change for Albania as they look for an equaliser, taking off both wingers for Qazim Laci and Arber Hoxha. Can either player find a spark in this game with just under a quarter of the match left?

22:13 CET - According to our live ratings, the current player of the game is Alessandro Bastoni. He has put in a shift at the back and got himself on the scoresheet - he has also just been smashed in the face from a free-kick. A slight dampner on an otherwise exemplary day for the centre-back. 

Follow the live ratings here.

22:04 CET - We are back underway in Dortmund as Albania look for a leveller against Italy. No changes at the break for either side.

21:47 CET - Another chance for Italy as Gianluca Scamacca's shot goes just wide despite a great effort to reach it from Lorenzo Pellegrini. That is the final action of an absorbing and at times crazy first 45 minutes, where Italy are leading Albania 2-1

Here are your match stats from the first half.

First half stats
First half statsOpta by StatsPerform

21:32 CET - No chance of this game calming down with both teams playing at a high intensity. It is Italy, with their lead, controlling the ball and just as a metaphor for this game, Lorenzo Pellegrini tries an incredibly ambitious overhead kick that sees him almost kick an Albanian defender in the face. Thankfully, he missed and his side continue to probe on the edge of the box.

They are in once more around the back of the Albania defence but Davide Frattesi can only hit the post. Replays show that Thomas Strakosha did incredibly well to tip the chip onto the woodwork. A fantastic save to keep his side it it.

21:18 CET - Wow - what a strike from Nicolo Barella. The ball breaks to him on the edge of the box and the Inter playmaker volleys a shot viciously into the back of the net. A small check for offside in the build-up shows no issues and Italy are in front. That is the 16th goal in 286 minutes so far in the Euros - it's raining goals in Germany.

21:10 CET - It may be one of the shortest goal sequences seen on Opta, but no Albanian fan will care about that. Chances aplenty for both sides in the opening 10 minutes and Italy are level! 

Albania's opening goal
Albania's opening goalOpta by StatsPerform, AFP

From a corner, Alessandro Bastoni rises highest at the back post to simply head home and restore parity - chaos in Dortmund!

21:03 CET - WHAT A START! After just 23 seconds, Nedim Bajrami rifles home the first goal of the for what is now the fastest-ever goal in the tournament's history, sending the Albanian fans into an uproar, whilst stunning Italy. Incredible!

21:01 CET - And we are underway! Can one of Italy or Albania join Spain at the top of Group B? We will find out in around two hours time.

20:54 CET - We are just over five minutes away from kick-off. Both sets of players are out and the anthems are being sung. The atmosphere is fantastic.

20:50 CET - This is just the second time that Albania have ever qualified for the Euros following their maiden appearance in 2016. They won just the one match during that campaign as they finished third and failed to move through to the knockout stages. Can they make more of an impact this time around in an extremely tricky group?

20:30 CET - Italian and Albanian fans have been mingling ahead of the game, enjoying some lighthearted banter.

20:20 CET - Italy's triumph three years ago certainly came unexpectedly, but they are now without experienced centre-back duo Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci following their retirements, so it is very much a new-look Italian side. Federico Chiesa - who was one of the heroes during their last campaign - is fit and ready to go, and they will be looking to make an early statement against a strong Albania team. 

20:05 CET - And the action doesn't stop. Up next in just under an hour are the reigning champions Italy, who take on Albania. Check out the line-ups below.

Line-ups
Line-upsFlashscore

19:56 CET - A second half far tamer than the first, but that will do Spain nicely. They were superb during the first 45 minutes, putting Croatia to bed early on, allowing them to take their foot off the pedal for the remainder of the game. An ageing Croatian side looked really shaky at the back, and were punished as a result.

What does this mean for the rest of the tournament? Perhaps it's too early to say, but with the impressive Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams leading the way for Spain, they have an added dimension that previous Spanish sides haven't: pace and directness. Defenders won't enjoy facing them.

For Croatia, they will simply be hoping that this is a blip, and they will show the resilience and steel that they usually do at major tournaments as the weeks go on. Their next match against Albania will now be pivotal.

Match stats
Match statsStatsperform

19:43 CET - Well, a little bit of a drama in an otherwise quiet half. Croatia were awarded a penalty after Ivan Perisic was felled in the box by Rodri. Bruno Petkovic stepped up and missed from the spot, but the ball was crossed back into him for him to tap home. HOWEVER, the goal was ruled out after a Croatia player was inside the area before the penalty was struck. If that all makes sense...

19:27 CET - The contest looks to be petering out a bit, with Spain in total cruise control. Croatia have taken Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic off, perhaps with an eye on their second group match. 

Modric heat map
Modric heat mapStatperform, Profimedia

19:06 CET - The second half is underway in Berlin. How do Croatia approach these 45 minutes? Do Spain take their foot off the pedal? Questions we will find out the answers to very soon.

18:51 CET - Phew, that is half time, and what an emphatic 45 minutes from Spain. Croatia have been really leaky at the back, but Spain have played some lovely football, and carved open their opponents at will. Unless there is a miracle in the second half, that is most probably game, set and match.

Match stats
Match statsStatsperform

18:48 CET - Dani Carvajal has put Spain 3-0 up, and surely that is already curtains for Croatia! A lovely ball from Yamal out wide caught the Croatian defence out, and Carvajal - who bagged in the Champions League final a few weeks ago - was there to tap in. 

18:32 CET - Exquisite from Fabian Ruiz! It's 2-0! A wonderful piece of individual skill from the midfielder on the edge of the box gave him just a bit of space, and that was more than enough as he swung his left boot at the ball and into the back of the net. Two quickfire goals for the Spanish have taken the wind out of Croatia.

Ruiz celebrates his goal
Ruiz celebrates his goalProfimedia

18:29 CET - Alvaro Morata gives Spain the lead! The skipper was played through on goal by Fabian Ruiz - with a huge hole gaping in the middle of the Croatian defence - and he finished in fine fashion. Just as Croatia looked to be getting into the game too. 

Morata's goal
Morata's goalStatsperform, Profimedia

18:20 CET - It has been a quiet start to the game with Spain dominating proceedings, yet with little to show for it currently. Winger Lamine Yamal had the best chance, but scuffed his effort harmlessly wide.

18:09 CET - Whenever Spain play Croatia, entertainment is always guaranteed. There have been 23 goals in their last five meetings.

Recent results
Recent resultsFlashscore

 18:01 CET- And the game is underway! There have been 10 goals in the first two games of Euro 2024 - let's hope for some more!

17:55 CET - Right then, the players are out on the pitch and the anthems are being sung. We are just minutes away from what is hopefully set to be a cracking contest between Spain and Croatia.

Williams, Rodri and Pedri during the anthems
Williams, Rodri and Pedri during the anthemsAFP

17:45 CET - The atmosphere is building up nicely in Berlin, so here's our video preview to whet the appetite even further.

Spain - Croatia video preview
Flashscore

Remember, you can also follow our live audio commentary right here.

17:22 CET - We're just over 30 minutes away from our second match of the day getting underway, and it's a mouthwatering clash between three-time champions Spain and Croatia.

Here are the team lineups from that Group B fixture in Berlin, with Spain's Lamine Yamal (16) set to become the youngest player in European Championship finals history.

Team lineups
Team lineupsFlashscore

Want to know more about the two sides? You can read the Spain preview here and the Croatia one right here.

16:58 CET - Despite some late Hungarian pressure, a stoppage-time strike from Breel Embolo sealed a deserved three points for Switzerland, who join tournament hosts Germany at the top of Group A on three points.

Read the match report here.

16:28 CET - Game on! Hungary have pulled one back through Barnabas Varga's close-range header, setting up an intriguing final 20 minutes. Dominik Szoboszlai was the architect of the goal, providing a superb inswinging delivery.

Varga goal sequence
Varga goal sequenceAFP, Flashscore

15:54 CET - Switzerland are in cruise control at the break in Cologne, thanks to Michel Aebischer's long-range strike doubling their advantage on the stroke of half-time. 

Can Hungary mount a comeback in the second period? Stay tuned to find out!

Half-time stats
Half-time statsOpta by Stats Perform

15:18 CET - After a closely fought opening 10 minutes, Switzerland have taken the lead, with Kwadwo Duah (27) racing onto Michel Aebischer's inch-perfect pass to slot a cool finish beyond Peter Gulacsi. What a moment for the Ludogorets forward who only made his international debut 11 days ago.

Duah goal sequence
Duah goal sequenceAFP, Flashscore

15:00 CET - Let's go then, the second game of the European Championships is underway in the Cologne sunshine.

14:50 CET - Not long to go now, the players are in the tunnel, who has the edge - find out with our live audio commentary!

14:30 CET - The atmosphere is certainly building in Cologne ahead of the first game of the day with some interesting outfits on display.

Can you spot who this person is supporting?

14:00 CET - An hour to go before the first game of the day and the lineups are in.

The big news for Hungary is that talisman Dominik Szoboszlai has been passed fit for the match, giving his side a huge boost. Both sides are set up in a 3-4-3 system, with Manuel Akanji at the heart of the Swiss defence.

Hungary - Switzerland lineups
Hungary - Switzerland lineupsFlashscore

Want to know more about these sides? Read the Hungary preview here and the Swiss one right here.

13:30 CET - Before the football starts at 15:00 CET, let's catch you up with the reaction from the opening game of the tournament.

After a blazing win that saw Germany sweep past Scotland for their biggest win in the Euros.

Ilkay Gundogan said after the game: "We played with a lot of intensity, we played in the right spaces, we took some risks and that is why we scored. We played a really good first half and we were up 3-0."

Meanwhile, Andy Robertson added: "We're so well backed over here, today was hugely disappointing. We have to bounce back quickly because there was lots wrong here and it’s a quick turnaround now. Maybe it's a reminder of how tough this tournament is."

Steve Clarke's thoughts after the game
Steve Clarke's thoughts after the gameFlashscore

Catch up with all the reaction here.

13:00 CET - Hello and welcome to the EURO 2024 Tracker and what a day we have in store for you. Reigning champions Italy get their campaign underway at 21:00 CET with a potentially tricky match against Albania, whilst Spain also get started with a tough test against the perennial dark horse of Croatia.

But before both of those, we have the final game of Group A's opening round with Hungary and Switzerland facing off in Cologne from 15:00 CET. Remember. we will have full live audio commentary from this game - that gets going at 14:55 CET.

Hungary - Switzerland video preview
Flashscore

Both sides will feel that this game could be pivotal for their chances of making the last 16 given Germany's 5-1 hammering of Scotland in Munich last night.

If you missed any of that game, check out our takeaways right here - something that is sure to feature the man below.

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