Two of the most followed nations on the Maltese Island, England and Italy, faced disappointing performances in their recent Euro 2024 matches. England was held to a draw by Denmark, while Italy suffered a narrow defeat to Spain.

England vs. Denmark: A Disorganized Display

England missed the opportunity to secure their place in the Euro 2024 knockout stages as Group C winners after a lackluster performance against Denmark in Frankfurt. Gareth Southgate’s side would have topped Group C with a win, especially after Slovenia and Serbia drew earlier in the day. However, England was fortunate to come away with a point from what can only be described as a disorganized and shambolic display.

Throughout the match, England struggled to find any rhythm or coherence in their play. Their performance was marked by a lack of structure and coordination, leaving fans and pundits alike questioning their preparedness for the tournament’s later stages. The team’s inability to capitalize on Denmark’s defensive lapses and their own failure to maintain possession were glaring issues.

Spain vs. Italy: A Dominant Spanish Display

In contrast, Spain delivered a scintillating performance against defending champions Italy in Gelsenkirchen, securing their spot in the last 16 of Euro 2024. Despite the narrow 1-0 scoreline, Spain’s dominance was evident as they created numerous chances and controlled the game from start to finish.

The only goal of the match came in the second half when Riccardo Calafiori inadvertently poked the ball into his own net following a flick-on by Alvaro Morata. Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma kept his team in the match with several excellent saves, including tipping over Pedri’s header in the first two minutes and later denying Fabian Ruiz and Morata.

Spain’s Nico Williams and teenage sensation Lamine Yamal, 16, both put in impressive displays. Williams came close to scoring on multiple occasions, heading wide and striking the crossbar, while Yamal showcased his talent with a curling effort that narrowly missed the target.

High Hopes and High Stakes

The clash between these European giants in the group stage was highly anticipated, and it did not disappoint. The match was electric from the start, with Spain displaying intensity and creativity in their ball movement, while Italy, despite being outplayed, managed to keep the scoreline close thanks to Donnarumma’s heroics.

As the group stage progresses, both England and Italy will need to address their shortcomings. England must find a way to bring coherence and structure to their play, while Italy will need to regroup and find their attacking edge if they hope to advance further in the tournament.