Italy Euro 2024 squad review: Spalletti leaves several stars out

Head coach Luciano Spalletti has selected the Italy Euro 2024 squad, raising eyebrows with some surprising inclusions and omissions for the defending champions.

Italy – who begin their title defence against Albania on June 15 in Dortmund – will bring just one uncapped player to Germany this summer, while a clutch of household names will be left behind, including a 17-goal striker.

Italy – Key facts

Italy are two-time European Championship winners and the current defending champions having won the 2020 iteration of the tournament on penalty kicks at England’s expense in the final.

The Italians have qualified for the last seven European Championships, while at least reaching the quarter-finals on the last four occasions.

Italy were beaten finalists in 2000 and 2012, and only Germany (six) have reached the Euros’ climactic fixture more often.

First professional fixture: 1910

Nickname: Gli Azzurri (The Blues)

Current FIFA ranking: 9th

Highest FIFA ranking: 1st (1993, 2007)

Year of Euro debut: 1968

Best Euro performance: Winners (1968, 2020)

Player to watch: Nicolò Barella

Euro 2024 predictions
There have been some surprise inclusions in Italy's Euro 2024 squad – Photo by Icon Sport

Full Italy Euro 2024 squad

Having whittled his preliminary squad down to 26 players ahead of this summer's tournament , Luciano Spalletti has chosen to include just one uncapped player in his Euro 2024 roster in Verona's Michael Folorunsho.

The omission of Roma's Leonardo Spinazzola, Juventus's Manuel Locatelli, Sassuolo's Domenico Berardi, Lazio's Ciro Immobile and Napoli's Matteo Politano has also given supporters plenty to ponder.

Goalkeeper

  • Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)
  • Alex Meret (Napoli)
  • Guglielmo Vicario (Tottenham)

Defence

  • Francesco Acerbi (Inter Milan)
  • Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan)
  • Raoul Bellanova (Torino)
  • Alessandro Buongiorno (Torino)
  • Riccardo Calafiori (Bologna)
  • Andrea Cambiaso (Juventus)
  • Matteo Darmian (Inter Milan)
  • Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli)
  • Federico Dimarco (Inter Milan)
  • Gianluca Mancini (Roma)

Midfield

  • Nicolò Barella (Inter Milan)
  • Bryan Cristante (Roma)
  • Nicolò Fagioli (Juventus)
  • Michael Folorunsho
  • Davide Frattesi (Inter Milan)
  • Jorginho (Arsenal)
  • Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma)

Attack

  • Federico Chiesa (Juventus)
  • Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma)
  • Giacomo Raspadori (Napoli)
  • Mateo Retegui (Genoa)
  • Gianluca Scamacca (Atalanta)
  • Mattia Zaccagni (Lazio)
Euro 2024 predictions
Uncapped Riccardo Calafiori will be hoping to make an impact for Italy – Photo by Icon Sport

Surprise inclusions in the Italy Euro 2024 squad

Riccardo Calafiori (Bologna)

Centre-half Riccardo Calafiori was one of three uncapped players named in Luciano Spalletti’s squad for this summer’s Euro 2024 tournament, though the 22-year-old’s inclusion was well-earned after a superb season in Serie A for Bologna.

The defender excelled in Thiago Motta’s much-improved outfit, and played a key role in helping Bologna secure Champions League qualification for 2024/25.

Calafiori has been involved in the Italian national set-up for more than eight years and has represented his country from Under-15 level right through to the Under-21’s.

Juventus are believed to be in the running to sign Calafiori ahead of the transfer window, though a strong performance in Germany will only see his stock rise yet further.

Nicolo Fagioli (Juventus)

The decision to include Nicolo Fagioli in Italy’s preliminary squad for Euro 2023 was controversial in the extreme. Though the midfielder is highly rated, he only just returned to action last Monday evening, having served a seven-month ban for breaching betting rules.

Fagioli was introduced as a second-half substitute in Juventus’s 3-3 draw with Bologna, and was booked for a mistimed challenge in the last minute of the contest. The playmaker has been capped only once by Italy, and that solitary appearance was earned back in 2022 in a friendly encounter against Albania.

Euro 2024 prediction
Alessandro Bastoni is set for a long career at the top for Italy – Photo by Icon Sport

In-form players for Italy

Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan)

Inter Milan cantered to the Serie A title this season, topping the division by a staggering 19 points while conceding just 20 goals in 38 fixtures along the way. Twenty-two year-old Alessandro Bastoni was a staple in Inter’s watertight defensive line and the defender could shine just as brightly at the Euros.

Bastoni is a centre-back equipped with traditional Italian principles, and he is both tactically astute and streetwise enough to lean on the game’s dark arts when required. With 22 caps already, he is virtually assured of a place in Luciano Spalletti’s back three.

Gianluca Scamacca (Atalanta)

Talented striker Gianluca Scamacca has reinvented himself at Atalanta following a short, failed stint with West Ham in England's Premier League and the 25-year-old managed to provide 12 goals and six assists in 29 Serie A appearances for La Dea over the course of the 2023/24 campaign.

Scamacca's displays during Atalanta's historic run to glory in the Europa Leagye were particularly eye-catching, however. Among the centre forward's six goals in the competition was a superbly-taken brace against Liverpool in the Bergamo-based side's incredible 3-0 win at Anfield in the quarter finals.

Euro 2024 prediction
Luciano Spalletti could use a back three system at Euro 2024 – Photo by Icon Sport

Italy Predicted Euro 2024 XI

Italy vs Albania

(4-2-3-1) Donnarumma (GK), Di Lorenzo, Mancini, Bastoni, Dimarco, Cristante, Jorginho, Zaccagni, Pellegrini, Chiesa, Retegui

Luciano Spalletti has shown a great degree of tactical flexibility since taking the reins with the Azzurri, though a formation with a distinct attacking focus should be expected from the Italian Head Coach for the nation’s Group B opener against Albania. On paper, that matchday one fixture looks like the easiest challenge of three to overcome and forward-thinking performers like Mateo Retegui, Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Pellegrini could all see action in that winnable-looking game.

Italy vs Spain

(3-5-2) Donnarumma (GK), Darmian, Mancini, Bastoni, Di Lorenzo, Dimarco, Jorginho, Cristante, Barella, Chiesa, Retegui

Italy's showpiece showdown with Spain on matchday two calls for more caution meanwhile, and Spalletti might choose to look to the more traditional Italian roots of robust defensive organisation in what should be the trickiest of fixtures. A switch to a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation might prove a savvy manoeuvre against the possession-hungry Spaniards here. That shape could allow Matteo Darmian to see action.

Italy vs Croatia

(3-4-3) Donnarumma (GK), Darmian, Mancini, Bastoni, Di Lorenzo, Dimarco, Jorginho, Cristante, Chiesa, Pellegrini, Retegui

With qualification for Italy far from certain in their “Group of Death”, their matchday three encounter with Croatia could be agonisingly tense. Again, caution could be the watchword in Leipzig for Italy as they attempt to snap an eight-match winless run against the dangerous Croatians. Again, look for a defensive focus here with three centre-backs likely to be deployed by Spalletti.


Simon Winter is a professional football tipster and sports journalist with over ten years in the industry. Best known for his time with Racing Post, Simon has also had work published by Freesupertips, Bloomberg Sports, bet365, Paddy Power, Colossus Bets, These Football Times and more. Simon covers the Bundesliga and Serie A for Football Whispers.