Euro 2024: Croatia and Italy meet in crucial Group B finale

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Screenshot 2024 06 24 082300

Image caption: Italy are looking to keep alive their hopes of defending their European Championship title

Defending champions Italy face Croatia in Leipzig on Monday with both sides looking to avoid an early exit from Euro 2024.
With three points in Group B, the Italians are best placed to reach the last 16.
Spain are already through as group winners and Italy will join them as runners-up if they avoid defeat to Croatia.

They will be heading home early if they lose and Albania manage to stun Spain in the other game.
Croatia, meanwhile, will finish second if they beat Italy and Albania fail to defeat Spain.
Draw and the Croatians would be left sweating on other results to be one of four best third-placed teams.
Italy were beaten by Spain 1-0 in their last game, and boss Luciano Spalletti believes his side will be better for the experience of that loss.
“I expect to see we have learnt a great deal from the Spain game, even though we played badly and even though it was a very painful defeat in terms of how it panned out,” he said.
“There are certain matches that ultimately dictate if it has been a great tale or a tale to forget. Ultimately the glory of your tale comes down to matches like this.”
‘We have to win otherwise we are going home’
Croatia, the 2018 World Cup finalists, have not played at their best so far in Germany, losing to Spain and drawing with Albania in their first two games.
Their biggest concern before facing Italy will be the amount of goals they conceded, letting in five so far.
“We must remain positive, accept responsibility and correct our mistakes,” said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic.
“In Russia [at the 2018 World Cup], we didn’t concede in the group stage; in Qatar [at the 2022 World Cup], only once. Here we’ve already let in five. Every dangerous attack ends up in our net.
“We need to change our approach and fix it before facing Italy. We have to win – if not, we’re going home.”

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