Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer slam ‘poor’ Italy and insist the defending champions won’t be ‘going far’ in Euro 2024 after rescuing a late draw against Croatia to reach last-16

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Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer believe Italy have little chance of defending their title at Euro 2024 after they edged into the last-16 thanks to an unconvincing 1-1 draw with Croatia on Monday night.

Italy fell behind 10 minutes into the second half after Luka Modric scored for Croatia just 32 seconds after having his penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Luciano Spalletti’s men huffed and puffed for an equaliser after that, and finally got it when substitute Mattia Zaccagni found the far corner with a curling effort in the 98th minute.

The hard-earned point secured second place in Group B for Italy, and they will now face Switzerland on Saturday, but Rooney and Shearer feel they are some way short of the team that won the last Euros at Wembley three years ago.

‘I think on what we’ve seen tonight they were poor, there seemed to be a lack of ideas when they got into the final third and when it got to the two forwards there was a lack of movement,’ Rooney told the BBC when assessing Italy’s display.

Italy failed to impress in their 1-1 draw with Croatia on Monday night

Wayne Rooney does not expect the defending champions to go much further than the last-16

Wayne Rooney does not expect the defending champions to go much further than the last-16

Alan Shearer was also critical of Italy as he slammed their attacking players

Alan Shearer was also critical of Italy as he slammed their attacking players

‘They’ve done well to get through but I can’t see them going far.’

Shearer concurred, and was particularly critical of Italy’s forwards, adding: ‘Not impressed with them up front at all. 

‘The balls that were going in, the chances they missed, the lack of movement, the ball was bouncing off both Retegui and Scamacca when he brought him on, but they certainly didn’t impress me.’

Italy remain in the tournament for now, but manager Spalletti did not attempt to gloss over their below-par display, as he accused his players of being ‘too timid’ in the first half, while denying that his decision to switch to a 3-5-2 formation played a part in their struggles.

‘There’s no denying it, we were below our usual level in the first half,’ he said.

‘If we don’t create very much, we’re not going to score very much. You can see we were thinking about bringing a result home, without really believing that we needed a win. It was involuntary, but I expect more from my players, because they show it in flashes.

Luciano Spalletti admitted his side were 'too timid' in the first half of Monday's game

Luciano Spalletti admitted his side were ‘too timid’ in the first half of Monday’s game

‘In the first half, we lost the ball in ways we absolutely cannot afford to do. That’s not prudence. If we don’t play with quality, if we do the basics and nothing more, then we will struggle.

‘It was not about the system, we were too timid in the first half, but the system was irrelevant compared to the attitude and quality seen on the field.’

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