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Italy Euros Odds: Defending champions 14/1 to retain title

Italy head into the Euros as defending champions, but they have plenty to prove to their critics after failing to qualify for the finals of the last World Cup.

Italy Euros odds

To Win Outright - 14/1
To Reach Final -
6/1
To Reach Semi-Final -
3/1
To Reach Quarter-Final -
11/10
Group Betting -
2/1
Group Qualification Yes -
1/8
Group Qualification No -
5/1

Dare we write off the wounded Azzurri?

Three years ago Italy shrugged off their failure to qualify for the previous World Cup by being crowned kings of Europe.

Now they head to Germany to defend their European title hoping that lightning can strike twice after a second successive World Cup qualifying flop.

However, there was a sense three years back that Roberto Mancini was building a side capable of shrugging off World Cup heartache and challenging for Euro glory, and the former Manchester City boss delivered in some style.

This time around, with Luciano Spalletti at the helm, there has undeniably been less enthusiasm for the 14/1 Italians on the eve of the finals.

But this is a wounded animal, scarred by back-to-back World Cup disasters, quietly being rebuilt by the impressive Spalletti and determined to show they are still a force on the big stage. Dare anyone write off the Azzurri?

"What we have shown so far is not enough"

Two years have passed since that fateful night in Palermo when the Italians lost to North Macedonia in a World Cup play-off, the mother and father of international shocks which cost them their place among the global elite in Qatar at the end of 2022.

Just eight months after Italy had beaten England on penalties to win the European Championship for a second time, here they were losing to a fledgling Balkan state to miss out on a second successive World Cup.

Mancini stayed in post throughout much of the Euro 2024 qualification campaign before resigning unexpectedly in August 2023.

Spalletti, the man who had guided Napoli to Serie A glory the previous season, stepped in and, as if fate decreed it, his first match in charge was against North Macedonia.

That ended 1-1, the first of a few sticky results at the start of Spalletti’s reign which included a 3-1 defeat at England and a nervy 0-0 draw against Ukraine in neutral Germany, a match which ended with a controversial penalty call going their way and enabling them to qualify for these summer finals a remote second behind the Three Lions, ahead of Ukraine only on head-to-heads.

As starts go it was fairly inauspicious with Spalletti not being afforded much time to put his stamp on the national team and bring in his players.

And as he has himself admitted after just a handful of matches in charge “what we have shown so far is not enough”. The million-dollar question is, can they show more in Germany?

Are these the players to strike gold again?

It is almost a moot point asking if the current Italy squad is good enough to win the Euros. Greece didn’t have the best players at Euro 2004 but won it. Portugal somehow managed to win in 2016 without ever truly impressing.

And then there was Italy themselves three years ago, largely unfancied and under the radar who gelled when the finals started, shone through the group phase and looked strong through the knockout rounds, ultimately having too much nous for a slicker England in the final.

Spalletti has bid farewell to old hands like Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, bedrocks of that team, and indicated early on that he had no obvious desire to summon the likes of Ciro Immobile and Marco Verratti.

But he has inherited top players in Paris Saint-Germain keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, the consistently classy Federico Chiesa of Juventus and a number of Serie A-winning Inter Milan stars of the calibre of Alessandro Bastoni, Federico Dimarco and Nicolo Barella.

Throw in proven international aces such as Arsenal’s Jorginho and Giovanni Di Lorenzo of Napoli, plus rising stars like Galatasaray’s Nicolo Zaniolo and Destiny Udogie from Tottenham and, nominally at least, there’s plenty to like in the group.

Spalletti has played three at the back and sometimes four, has played with centre-forwards and false nines. He has options both in terms of personnel and formations and even the absence of a single, nailed-on central striker is hardly a new headache for an Italy coach.

No easy route through the group stage

If Italy are going to claim a third European title, then they will have to do it the hard way.

Spalletti could hardly have imagined a tougher group campaign with both Spain and Croatia, the two nations immediately either side of them in FIFA’s rankings, drawn into their section.

Albania are the fourth team in Group B and Italy, of all countries, won’t deride them as whipping boys. They are ranked higher than North Macedonia, after all!

Three years ago Turkey, Switzerland and Wales represented their group rivals, a trio they swatted aside with real panache. Spain and Croatia are a cut above any of that trio, so a top-two spot in Group B is not assured, though they are 1/8 to qualify and 11/10 to make the quarter-finals.

Italy’s minds are focused, perhaps more than before as a result of the scars worn by a second successive World Cup hiccup.

They aren’t as short in the betting as Europe’s current heavyweights, England and France, but how could they possibly be written off given what happened three years ago?

Is Spalletti overseeing a great squad? No, there are flaws, that’s for sure. But is it capable of retaining the trophy? How could you definitely say no.

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