Italy Player Ratings vs Albania: Inter Stars Shine Bright

Italy got their European Championship title defense off to a flying start, overcoming an early deficit to beat Albania 2-1 at Signal Iduna Park. Despite conceding in the opening 60 seconds, Luciano Spalletti’s side headed into halftime on the front foot thanks to Inter stars.

Sassuolo playmaker Nedim Barjami fired Albania in front after only 23 seconds, suggesting the reigning holders could suffer an early shock. However, Alessandro Bastoni and Nicolo Barella showed why Inter steamrolled to the Serie A title in 2023/24.

Bastoni stormed into the six-yard box unmarked and had no problems beating ex-Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha from point-blank range after getting his header on the end of Lorenzo Pellegrini’s cross. It took Italy only ten minutes to find the equalizer.

They needed half that time to turn things around in Dortmund. Barella’s availability was in doubt going into the game. But the Inter talisman recovered in time and proved critical for Italy, bagging home a stunning half-volley from 20 yards out to complete the turnaround.

Each side had several decent chances to change the scoreline in the second half, but the score remained intact as Italy joined Spain at Group B’s summit. An all-important win saw Gli Azzurri uphold their outstanding run of going unbeaten in their European Championship openers to nine matches.

Next in line is Thursday’s mouth-watering clash against Spain, who demolished Croatia 3-0 earlier today.

Italy (4-2-3-1)

Gianluigi Donnarumma – 7

Despite conceding from Albania’s first shot, the Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper showed confidence and composure to keep the Albanians at bay for the rest of the game.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo – 7.5

It seems wild speculation surrounding the Napoli captain’s future hasn’t messed with his head, as he delivered a top-notch performance on the right side. It was a shame he didn’t score early in the second half.

Alessandro Bastoni – 8

In addition to the goal, the Inter stalwart was the irremovable object at the back, thwarting every Albania’s attempt to threaten Donnarumma in the air.

Riccardo Calafiori – 7.5

Perhaps he wasn’t Spalletti’s first-choice center-back ahead of the tournament. But he took advantage of an injury crisis to showcase his quality and give Juventus another reason to pursue his signature.

Federico Dimarco – 7

Active on the left as usual, the Inter defender had a decent game by his standards, especially at the back. His crossing wasn’t always on the money, though.

Nicolo Barella – 8

There’s a reason Italy were waiting for his fitness update with bated breath. Gli Azzurri are a different team with the dynamic ex-Cagliari man in the lineup.

Jorginho – 6.5

Refused to take risks when in possession, the veteran midfielder did what he does best. He distributed the ball around the pitch with composure and precision.

Lorenzo Pellegrini – 7

He was vital for Roma last season and could be equally significant for Italy this summer. His delightful cross set up Bastoni on a silver platter, and he kept providing goods in the front third afterward.

Davide Frattesi – 6

Played out of his favorite position, the versatile midfielder had an atypically quiet game, failing to impact proceedings from the wing despite his best efforts.

Federico Chiesa – 6.5

Following a frustrating season at Juventus, the quicksilver forward looked lively from the get-go, completing several progressive runs down the flank but with no end product. His return to form could prove critical for Italy.

Gianluca Scamacca – 5.5

It was a frustrating evening for the Atalanta marksman. Cut off from the rest of the pack, he had no clear sight of goal despite spending 83 minutes on the pitch.


Bryan Cristante – 6

Andrea Cambiasso – 6

Mateo Retegui – 5

Matteo Darmian – 5.5

Michael Folorunsho – N/A

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