Heavyweights Spain, Italy and Croatia are all battling to get out of Group B alongside underdogs Albania at Euro 2024. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga
Heavyweights Spain, Italy and Croatia are all battling to get out of Group B alongside underdogs Albania at Euro 2024. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga

Euro 2024 Group B preview: The Group of Death


There's always a so-called 'Group of Death', and this time it's Spain, Italy, Croatia and Albania all drawn together in Group B at UEFA Euro 2024. A slip could even see one of them face Germany in the round of 16. Time to take a closer look at the four teams...

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Like hosts Germany, Spain are three-time Euro winners (1984, 2008 and 2012). They went out to holders Italy in the rescheduled 2020 finals, having fallen at the quarters in 2016. Since then, however, they have lifted the 2023 UEFA Nations League, beating Group B rivals Croatia 5-4 on penalties.

Star man: Rodri 

Spain's squad is packed full of top-quality individuals, but Rodri is arguably the difference-maker. The 27-year-old Manchester City midfielder is one of the very best in class right now, not used to losing games, and the heartbeat of his team for club and country.

Coach: Luis de la Fuente

Replacing Luis Enrique in 2022, De La Fuente needed just a year to bring home Spain's first Nations League title. He will know some of the players from his time in charge of the various youth national teams, and has the added experience of lifting two league titles with Athletic Bilbao as a player.

One to watch: Lamine Yamal

Yamal is widely regarded as one of the most exciting prospects in world football. The 16-year-old winger featured in 37 of Barcelona's 38 La Liga fixtures in 2023/24, and has already made three starts for Spain this year alone. If he gets some minutes at the Euros, he will become the youngest player in the tournament's history.


Spain won seven of eight qualifiers and boast one of the best squads at the finals - including Bundesliga duo Alejandro Grimaldo and Dani Olmo - putting them among the favourites to go all the way. 

Watch: The best of Bundesliga winner Grimaldo in 2023/24


It's not quite clicked for Spain since their golden era of 2008-2012, but this year could be different. If they gel as a team, La Roja should go deep in the competition.


Croatia are playing in their seventh finals, but the 2018 FIFA World Cup runners-up have never gone further than the quarters. Group B will be a serious test of their credentials.

Star man: Luka Modrić 

Even at 38, Modrić is still Croatia's main man. His country's captain, most successful player and record appearance holder (175), the Real Madrid pass master has got his hands on everything but an international title down the years. Will he change that, in what could be his last major international tournament?

Coach: Zlatko Dalić

Dalić is a popular figure in the Croatia camp. He's been in charge for seven years, with the Balkan nation's run to the 2018 World Cup final the highlight of his tenure. Exiting the last Euros to Spain in the round of 16 didn't sway the powers that be. A runners-up finish to the same opposition in the 2023 Nations League underlined the 57-year-old's leadership abilities.

One to watch: Joško Gvardiol

Gvardiol is a familiar face to Bundesliga fans, following his breakout stint at RB Leipzig. The 22-year-old slotted in seamlessly at English Premier League winners Manchester City this past season, helping them to a fourth straight title. Equally adept at centre or left-back, he will be the bedrock of the Croatia defence at the finals.

Watch: The best of Gvardiol in the Bundesliga


World Cup runners-up in 2018 and bronze medalists four years later, Croatia are a force to be reckoned with. They bettered Portugal in their last of six Euro warm-up games, suggesting they will once again take some beating at a tournament.


Croatia have the quality to advance from the group, but reaching the final won't be easy. Hosts Germany are potential semi-final or even round of 16 opponents depending on where they finish in the group. They could also come up against 2020 runners-up England along the road.


Despite losing twice to England and drawing with Ukraine in qualifying, holders Italy have made it to Germany. The two-time winners (1968 & 2020) certainly have a point to prove after failing to reach the 2022 World Cup.

Star man: Nicolò Barella 

One of the world's best midfielders, Barella is the heart and soul of the team. A Euro winner in 2020, the 27-year-old technician has since led Inter Milan to the 2022/23 Champions League final and 2023/24 Serie A title.

Coach: Luciano Spalletti

Spalletti replaced Roberto Mancini in September 2023, with Italy's qualification hopes at risk. That the 65-year-old got them over the line in the end is no great surprise, given his past successes in charge of the likes of Roma, Zenit St. Petersburg and, most recently, Napoli, whom he steered to a first Scudetto since 1990 in 2022/23.

One to watch: Mateo Retegui

Retegui has made an instant impact on the national team. The Genoa youngster scored in his first two games and heads to the finals with four goals to show for his first eight caps.


Italy could top the group or crash out - it's a hard one to call, and you never quite know which Azzurri will show up at a tournament - but they will be determined to deliver as holders. Four pre-competition wins and two draws certainly stand them in decent stead.


Team spirit helped propel Italy all the way three years ago. The Azzurri will need much more of the same in Germany, as well as young and old faces to mesh, if they're to trump group favourites Spain and Croatia.


Albania are the clear underdogs of the group, despite topping their qualifying section ahead of Czech Republic and Poland. They are appearing in the finals for only the second time, after exiting at the group stage in 2016.

Star man: Armando Broja

Broja missed a chunk of the domestic season through injury but is fit for the Euros. The Chelsea forward has five goals in 21 senior appearances.

Coach: Sylvinho

Sylvinho has done a superb job since taking charge in January 2023, overseeing seven wins from 13 games in charge (D3, L3). The former Lyon and Corinthians coach - a left-back in his playing days - likes his team to attack with width, which could cause their group rivals problems.

Watch: Euro 2024 - the host stadiums

One to watch: Mario Mitaj

Mitaj has become a key player since debuting in qualifying. The Lokomotiv Moscow left-back, still only 20, is physical and loves to press.


Albania beat Liechtenstein 3-0 and Azerbaijan 3-1 in their final warm-up games, but it would be a real shock to see that run continue into the group stage against such seasoned opposition.


Few expect Albania to advance. Even finishing third - which could be enough to reach the knockouts - would be a huge surprise.

Euro 2024 group previews