Switzerland vs Italy 2-0: Woeful Azzurri Humbled & Uncrowned

The Euro 2024 Round of 16 kicked off with a battle between Switzerland and Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. While the Azzurri fans were expecting their team to raise the level following a mediocre group-stage campaign, the defending champions were uncrowned after putting up their most hollow display in recent memory. The Italians were outplayed from start to finish by a tenacious Swiss side that fully deserved their place in the quarter-finals on the back of a 2-0 victory.

Starting Lineups

Luciano Spalletti opted for a classic 4-3-3 formation with Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal. Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Alessandro Bastoni maintained their spots at the back, while Matteo Darmian and Gianluca Mancini filled in for the injured Federico Dimarco and suspended Riccardo Calafiori.

In the middle of the park, Nicolò Fagioli operated as Regista instead of Jorginho, joining Nicolò Barella and Bryan Cristante, while Gianluca Scamacca returned to spearhead the lineup, supported by Federico Chiesa and Stephan El-Shaarawy.

On the other hand, Switzerland coach Murat Yakin fielded a 3-4-3 lineup that included a host of Serie A stars, including Yann Sommer and Bologna trio Dan Ndoye, Michel Aebischer and Freuler. Beel Embolo led the line, while Granit Xhaka pulled the strings in midfield.

Italy Perplexed in First Half 

From the very start of the match, it was painfully obvious how Italy are struggling to maintain possession, even inside their own areas, faced with the suffocating counter-pressing inflicted by Switzerland.

The Red Crosses were clearly the better side, and almost scored in the middle of the first half if it wasn’t for a Donnarumma heroic to deny Embolo from close range.

Nevertheless, the Swiss still managed to take the lead through Freuler who crept into the box to receive a ball from Ruben Vargas. The midfielder’s shot was deflected by Mancini, and Donnarumma couldn’t prevent it despite putting his foot in its path.

Switzerland almost doubled their lead at the end of the first half through a clinical freekick from Fabian Rieder, but the Italy goalkeeper combined with the post to keep his nation in the match. 

On the other hand, the Azzurri failed to forge any sort of cohesive play throughout the first half, with only Chiesa threatening to inflict damage with a few individual runs.

Switzerland Double Their Lead

While the Italians were hoping to change the scenery in the second half, especially after bringing in Mattia Zaccagni for the underwhelming El-Shaarawy, they were dealt a massive blow in the first twenty seconds after the restart, with Vargas finding the far corner with a sensational strike.

Astonishingly, Italy never truly launched an onslaught, only managing to maintain futile possession while Switzerland were happy to see off the match.

In the end, the Azzurri will return home prematurely following a disappointing campaign, while Spalletti and his men can hardly have any complaints after putting up such unjustifiable displays. 


June 29, 2024 – Euro 2024 Round of 16

SCORERS: 37′ Freuler, 46′ Vargas

SWITZERLAND (3-4-2-1): Sommer; Schar, Akanji, Rodriguez; Aebischer (91′ Steffen), Freuler, Xhaka, Ndoye (78′ Sierro); Rieder (71′ Stergiou), Vargas (71′ Zuber); Embolo (78′ Duah) (Mvogo, Kobel, Elvedi, Zakaria, Okafor, Zesiger, Shaqiri, Jashari, Amodouni) Coach: Yakin

ITALY (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Mancini, Bastoni, Darmian (75′ Cambiaso); Cristante (75′ Pellegrini), Fagioli (86′ Frattesi), Barella (64′ Retegui); Chiesa, Scamacca, El Shaarawy (46′ Zaccagni) (Meret, Vicario, Dimarco, Buongiorno, Gatti, Jorginho, Raspadori, Bellanova, Folorunsho) Coach: Spalletti

REFEREE: Mr. Marciniak (Poland)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Barella, El Shaarawy, Mancini (I); Added Time: 1st Half 3′, 2nd Half 4′

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