Euro 2024: Italy set for changes after Spain 'shellacking'

Darmian: Italy have to avoid same mistakes vs. Croatia (0:44)

Matteo Darmian insists Italy will learn from their mistakes against Spain when they face Croatia at Euro 2024. (0:44)

Luciano Spalletti named the same starting lineup for Italy's first two Euro 2024 games, but following their defeat to Spain changes will be made for the final Group B match against Croatia, the manager said on Sunday.

After Italy's 2-1 win over Albania, Spalletti kept faith with his players, but after the 1-0 defeat to Spain in which his side was totally outplayed, the manager had spoken of a tired team who could not compete with the pace and energy of the Spanish.

"After a game like that, the idea of being able to change something is there, because I probably made a mistake not to change before, looking at the performance against Spain," Spalletti told reporters.

"But the team against Albania seemed so good to me that I thought it was a gamble to change things. Now that we have noticed a bit of fatigue, a bit of rustiness, something will surely change."

The result against Spain and the manner of the defeat led to much discussion in the Italian camp over the last few days but now the time for talking is over.

"I think the shellacking we got against Spain the other day has taught us a lot. When you lose, you see the making of the man, the making of the player," said Italy defender Alessandro Bastoni.

Added Spalletti: "We analysed it and talked about it, we took a step back in terms of what we'd seen in matches coming into that one.

"I expect to see that the game against Spain taught us some lessons, even though we played badly and suffered because of how it ended.

"Now we have to put facts before us and leave the words aside."

Italy in the past were renowned for their defensive capabilities, their ability to see out a win, but the days of that "Catenaccio" ("door bolt") style are long behind them and have no place in modern football according to Spalletti.

"Football today is no longer just about doing one thing, you have to know how to do more than one," Spalletti said.

"Given Croatia's quality, sometimes we will be forced to defend with 11 players, to compact and then turn the action around without allowing the opponents to recompose a defensive phase.

"It's clear that in today's football you can't do it in the whole game, you can't just live on low defence and restarts."

Spain on six points have already won the group, and Italy with three points need a draw against Croatia to guarantee their place in the last 16 as runners-up.

Defeat would see Croatia, who have one point, overtake the Italians and could leave them sweating on being one of the four best third-placed teams to advance, or out altogether if Albania, also on one point, were to beat Spain.

"There are certain matches which ultimately dictate whether it's been a great tale or a tale to forget," Spalletti said.

"So ultimately the glory of your tale comes down to games such as these."

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.