Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Euro 2024 scores, highlights, standings: Spain destroy Croatia; Italy win but Albania make history

The first full day of action at Euro 2024 saw Switzerland start off on the right foot with a 3-1 win over Hungary while Spain had no trouble with Croatia, beating them 3-0. In the day’s final game, reigning champions Italy dominated in every statistical category except goals, coming away with a 2-1 win over Albania. 

Find out all you need to know:

Euro 2024 scores for Saturday

  • Switzerland 3, Hungary 1
  • Spain 3, Croatia 0
  • Italy 2, Albania 1

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Italy 2, Albania 1

The scoreline indicates a game that was close, but it really shouldn’t have been. Italy should have put away a third goal after scoring two in the first quarter of an hour, but in the end it was enough, holding on against an Albania team that didn’t put enough pressure on them in the final moments. 

Albania’s Nedim Bajrami scored after just 23 seconds, capitalizing on a poor throw-in from Italy, to set the mark for the quickest goal scored in a men’s European Championship. 

From there, it was all Italy. Alessandro Bastoni and Nicolo Barella both scored shortly after while Italy also hit the post and were wasteful on a couple other quality chances. Italy had 69% possession and 17 shots to Albania’s eight in a game that highlighted the winners’ restocked backline. 

Alongside Bastoni, Genoa’s 22-year-old star center back Riccardo Calafiori stole the show with an exceptional display of strength, timing and smarts, keeping the underdogs at bay for almost the entirety of the game. Aside from a lapse in the final moments where he was bailed out by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, the former AS Roma man was near perfect as Bastoni’s partner to replace the retired Leonardi Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. 

Here’s Barella’s winning goal:

Spain 3, Croatia 0

Some good all that experience did them. Veteran-filled Croatia, finalists at the 2018 World Cup and semifinalists in 2022, were thoroughly handled by Spain, 3-0. The young Spanish side, with Barcelona’s 16-year-old star Lamine Yamal leading the way, were clinical, scoring all their goals in the first half, putting away 60% of their shots on target in the match. 

Alvaro Moratez, Fabian Ruiz and Dani Carvajal scored the goals for the Spanish side while Croatia, despite having 16 shots, lacked precision when it mattered most, getting the tournament off in the poorest of ways. The result now puts so much pressure on Croatia, as one more loss in the group stage could mean the end of their run.

Ruiz, who assisted the first goal with a lovely through ball, stole the show with this incredible effort at the top of the box:

Spain entered the tournament with a lot of question marks thanks to a young and experienced squad, but they seem to be instant contenders after this performance. Rodri was a rock centrally as expected, Yamal was taken off to a standing ovation for his dazzling display and there was an inspiring cohesion in the middle of the park that will keep them in any game.

Do keep an eye on Morata though, as he looked to be signaling an injury that sa him taken off in the second half. 

Switzerland 3, Hungary 1

It wasn’t a thoroughly convincing win for Switzerland despite being in control at 2-0 through the first international goals of Kwadwo Duah and Michel Aebischer. A fine header from Barnabas Varga in the 66th minute saw Hungary get back into the game, but an error in defense gave Breel Embolo the chance he needed to lift the ball over Peter Gulasci to cement all three points. 

The opening goal, 12 minutes in, had to be confirmed by VAR, but it was Duah’s fine finish inside the box that gave Switzerland all the momentum:

Aebischer would make it 2-0 just before the break with this effort. He looked to have made a mistake by not getting his shot off early, but he made it work, curling this lovely shot into the far side of the goal:

Embolo then added style points, capturing this poor headed backpass to make it 3-1:

The win is a huge one for the Swiss as it likely means even just a draw against lowly Scotland could be enough to get to the knockout stage. At Euro 2020, all teams with four points advanced to the last 16. 

How things stand

Group A

  1. Germany, 3 points (+4)
  2. Switzerland, 3 points (+3)
  3. Hungary, 0 points (-3)
  4. Scotland, 0 points (-4)

Group B

  1. Spain, 3 points (+3)
  2. Italy, 3 points (+1)
  3. Albania, 0 points (-1)
  4. Croatia, 0 points, (-3)

Sunday’s schedule

All times Eastern

  • Poland vs. Netherlands, 9 a.m. on FS1 (preview)
  • Slovenia vs. Denmark, 12 p.m. on FS1 (preview)
  • Serbia vs England, 3 p.m. on Fox (preview)

What happened yesterday?

Host Germany kicked off the tournament in style with a 5-1 win over Scotland. Five different players, including Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, found the back of the net in a one-sided match. It was 2-0 19 minutes in, and a red card from Ryan Porteous due to a horrendous challenge in the box resulted in a penalty kick and opened the floodgates as Germany scored a third before the break and two more in the second half, making an opening statement that they may back. 

Numerous continental and global failures since winning the 2014 World Cup has seen Germany take a hit when it comes to where they ran among the world’s best, but this is the perfect chance to prove that they are contenders again. So far, so good. 

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