Swiss eclipse Italy

UEFA Euro 2024 – Last 16



Playing with the coordination of a highly organized club team, Murat Yakin’s squad triumphed over Italy in Berlin, advancing to the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2024 at the expense of the reigning champions.

Remo Freuler and Ruben Vargas were the catalysts in Berlin as Switzerland ousted the defending champions from UEFA EURO 2024 in the round of 16. Switzerland embarked on a strategy to dominate possession and successfully executed it, although it took until the 24th minute for them to create an opportunity. Breel Embolo managed to sneak past Italy’s offside trap and force Gianluigi Donnarumma into making a save. Moments later, they seized the lead with a precise pass from Vargas on the left, finding Bologna’s Freuler, who skillfully controlled the ball before firing a low shot past Donnarumma.

Struggling to find openings against a well-disciplined Swiss lineup, which boasted a combined total of 723 international appearances, holders Italy (with a combined starting XI appearance count of 400) would have been trailing 2-0 at halftime if it weren’t for Donnarumma’s exceptional save, pushing Fabian Rieder’s free-kick onto the post and out of play.

That second goal was soon to arrive, however, another Bologna player by the name of Michel Aebischer spotted Vargas unmarked on the edge of the penalty area just moments after the game resumed. The 25-year-old displayed his skill by elegantly slotting the ball into the top corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.

The Swiss team almost made a costly mistake when Fabian Schär’s defensive header deflected off Yann Sommer’s post, providing their opponents with a glimmer of hope. Fortunately, this was a rare lapse in an otherwise solid performance from a team that took calculated risks and always had an outlet for their passes. They remained composed and in control until the final stages of the match, when Luciano Spalletti’s team decided to throw caution to the wind.

Gianluca Scamacca briefly raised the heartbeat of the Swiss fans when he struck the woodwork with a shot in the 74th minute. Aside from that momentary scare, Switzerland made their victory appear effortless.

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Switzerland: Sommer; Schär, Akanji, Rodríguez; Aebischer (Steffen 90+2), Freuler, Xhaka, Rieder (Stergiou 71); Vargas (Zuber 71), Embolo (Duah 77), Ndoye (Sierro 77)

Italy: Donnarumma; Mancini, Bastoni, Darmian (Cambiaso 75); Di Lorenzo, Cristante (Pellegrini 75), Fagioli (Frattesi 86), Barella (Retegui 64), El Shaarawy (Zaccagni 46); Scamacca, Chiesa

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