EURO 2024 Gameday (June 15) – Italy Begins Back-to-Back Quest vs. Albania

Federico Chiesa of Italy celebrates after scoring to give the side a 2-0 lead during the UEFA EURO 2024 European qualifier match between Italy and North Macedonia at Stadio Olimpico on November 17, 2023 in Rome, Italy.

While Friday will feature a lone, ceremonious opening game of EURO 2024 action between Scotland and hosts Germany, the floodgates really open on Saturday, with three games of action for fans around the world to enjoy. For Canadians, there are few better ways to be spending a toasty June afternoon. Let’s take a look at the three games on the schedule, including a team ready to begin its title defence.

3:00 p.m. ET Headliner: Italy vs. Albania

Italy Win-250Albania Win+875Draw+375
Over 2.5 Goals+107Under 2.5 Goals-133BroadcastTSN
All odds courtesy of Betano Canada

The Italians are looking to be the second team to ever go back-to-back in the tournament and the first since Spain defended its 2008 title in 2012. The expectations from the outside aren’t quite as high, with the Azzurri being given the sixth-shortest odds across most of the top Canadian online sportsbooks, but the pressure will certainly be on back home. After all, Italy have somehow managed to miss out on qualifying for the last two World Cups, even with their EURO 2020 win sandwiched in the middle.

Speaking of the World Cup, a German-hosted tournament this year feels like a good omen, bringing back memories of their 2006 run. Italy is running a younger squad than we’ve seen from them in previous major tournaments, but players like goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, Jorginho, and Federico Chiesa will be familiar to fans worldwide.

Albania’s goal is to build upon the momentum created in winning their qualifying group for the first time ever. While they lost their first game against Poland, they went undefeated in their next seven (four wins, three draws) and didn’t give up a goal at home in the qualifying cycle. They’ll be hoping for players like Armondo Broja and Rey Manaj to break through the Italian defence.

Historically, Italy has had the better of this head-to-head, having played four games against each other over the last 10 years. The combined score across the four games went 7-1 in Italy’s favour, with Albania’s lone goal coming during a 3-1 defeat in November 2022. Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who scored one of Italy’s three goals in that match, is expected to be among the subs on Saturday.

Game Bets To Consider

  • Italy has historically loved to play for a low score, even when they’re the commanding favourites in a game. Taking the total goals under here (-133 for under 2.5) feels like a safe bet.
  • Look to Gianluca Scamacca to get the Azzurri on the board in this one. The Atalanta striker is in great form and will be relied upon to be a difference-maker in this tournament. You can get him for an anytime goal at +145, a shot on goal at -200, or if you’re feeling cheeky about Italy going for their ideal 1-0 victory, take him as the first or last goal at +410.

Bet on Italy vs. Albania

ITA -250
ALB +875

Other EURO 2024 Games On June 15

Hungary vs Switzerland, 9:00 a.m. ET

These two countries are facing each other for the first time in a major tournament in nearly 90 years – I’m not so sure how much weight we can give the 2-0 Hungary win in the 1938 World Cup when predicting Saturday’s victor. Even their last game, in general, may be too far out of reach – the Swiss went back-to-back in World Cup Qualifying in 2018, but six years ago is still a long time.

Nevertheless, this should be an interesting matchup. Hungary has built itself back towards the upper rungs of European soccer, went undefeated in qualification, and has wins in three of their last four games overall. The Swiss are as they often are – stingy, well-organized, and defensively sound, with veterans like Xherdan Shaquiri relied upon to add some scoring punch when needed. He’s factored in on nearly half of the team’s goals in World Cup or EURO matches in the last 10 years.

Game Bet To Consider: Betano is feeling a first-half goal from a difference-maker, regardless of the squad. They’re boosting a first-half goal combo from either Dominik Szoboszlai of Hungary or Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland at +320, up from +290.

Spain vs. Croatia, 12:00 p.m. ET

It’s a rematch of the 2023 Nations League final, as victors Spain take on runners-up Croatia. Spain come in hot after friendly wins against Andorra and Northern Ireland, but Croatia – as Canadian fans who watched the 2022 World Cup will remember – is a very different beast.

Luka Modric returns to Croatia for his fifth career EURO tour of duty with Josko Gvardiol and Mateo Kovacic also returning in hopes of another strong showing. Croatia warmed up with a 2-1 win against Portugal last Saturday, carried by an early penalty kick from Modric and a game-decider from Ante Budimir in the 56th minute.

Spain will aim to continue playing their suffocating possession game – they’ve had the majority of the ball in every competitive game they’ve played since the EURO 2008 final. No, that is not a typo.

Game Bet To Consider: Look to Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata to put a shot on goal in this one – his over sits at -167. If you like him to convert as well, an anytime goal sits at +150.

Away TeamDrawHome TeamTime (ET)
Hungary+285+230+118Switzerland9:00 AM
Spain-105+240+355Croatia12:00 PM
Italy-250+375+875Albania3:00 PM
All odds courtesy of Betano Canada

Latest EURO 2024 Futures Odds

Here are the latest EURO 2024 futures odds, heading into the matches on June 15:

All odds courtesy of Betano Canada

No movement at the top yet, as we’re getting you set for Saturday ahead of Friday’s kickoff between Germany and Scotland. A win for the Germans could slightly sharpen their odds by morning, though!