Home Football Italy Stunned by Switzerland, Exits Euro 2024 in Last 16

Italy Stunned by Switzerland, Exits Euro 2024 in Last 16

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Swiss Triumph in Berlin

Reigning champion Italy was knocked out of Euro 2024 in the last 16 as Switzerland pulled off a stunning 2-0 upset on Saturday at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. Goals from Remo Freuler and Ruben Vargas secured Switzerland’s place in the quarter-finals, while Italy struggled to find their footing and suffered an unexpected early exit.

Switzerland’s Early Dominance

Switzerland started the game strongly, and their early dominance was rewarded in the 37th minute. Remo Freuler received the ball inside the penalty area from Vargas and managed to score with a slightly deflected shot that Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma couldn’t stop.

Rapid Second Goal

Swiss supporters didn’t have to wait long after the break for a second goal. Just 27 seconds into the second half, Italy’s continued sloppiness on the ball led to a turnover. Switzerland quickly advanced, and Ruben Vargas curled a stunning effort from the edge of the box into the top right corner, leaving Italy reeling.

Italy’s Out-of-Sorts Performance

Italy’s defense of its title ended with this uncharacteristically poor performance. The reigning champion has now been eliminated in the round of 16 at the last three Euros. Switzerland, on the other hand, moves forward to face the winner of Sunday’s matchup between England and Slovakia.

Missing Key Players

Italy was without defender Riccardo Calafiori, who was suspended. Gianluca Mancini started in his place. The game began cautiously, with clear-cut chances hard to come by. Switzerland started brighter, keeping Italy out of possession with effective pressing, but Italy’s compact defense prevented any real scoring opportunities in the opening 20 minutes.

Missed Chances

Switzerland eventually found gaps in Italy’s defense. Breel Embolo had a clear chance around the 20-minute mark but fired a tame shot that Donnarumma saved. Italy briefly sparked into life with Stephan El Shaarawy’s attempt, but his shot was blocked by Manuel Akanji.

Persistent Pressing

Italy struggled with playing out from the back and was frequently pinned by Switzerland’s pressing. Ricardo Rodriguez tried to break the deadlock with a long-range shot, but it sailed over the bar. The breakthrough came shortly after when Vargas found Freuler, who squeezed his shot past Donnarumma.

Switzerland’s Continued Pressure

Switzerland almost doubled its lead before halftime when Fabian Rieder’s free kick was tipped onto the post by Donnarumma. After the break, Vargas scored the second-fastest second-half goal in Euros history, according to the BBC, just 27 seconds into the half.

Italy’s Attacking Efforts

Italy showed slightly more attacking intent after going two goals down, finding space down the flanks through Federico Chiesa and Mattia Zaccagni. However, they struggled to convert these opportunities into goals. Gianluca Scamacca’s shot struck the woodwork, and Nicolò Fagioli fired over from distance.

Final Whistle

Italy was unable to produce anything substantial in an uninspiring performance. The team relied on occasional long-range strikes but couldn’t break down a well-organized and relentless Swiss defense. Switzerland looked dangerous with every attack and deservedly advanced to the next round.

Italy’s defeat marks the end of their Euro 2024 journey, while Switzerland celebrates a well-earned victory. As Switzerland prepares for the quarter-finals, Italy must reflect on what went wrong in their title defense. This unexpected result highlights the unpredictable nature of football and the importance of maintaining form throughout a tournament.