Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Switzerland 2-0 Italy: What Were The Main Talking Points As The Reigning Champions Crash Out In Berlin?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, European Championships 29 Jun 2024

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Putting in a nightmare performance on Saturday evening, reigning champions Italy relinquished their European crown as they slumped to a routine 2-0 defeat against Switzerland in Berlin.

Although the Azzurri might have always been set for a stern examination in the German capital, they were completely outclassed from the opening whistle as they limped their way out of this summer’s tournament.

Watching the Swiss take a deserved lead in the 37th-minute as Remo Freuler powered past a helpless Gianluigi Donnarumma, they only further established their dominance after returning from the half-time break.

Flying out of the traps following the interval and doubling their advantage just 27 seconds later as Ruben Vargas produced a thunderous strike, the Rossocrociati will now be planning for what could be a blockbuster final eight battle against England.

Although Gianluca Scamacca might have hit the woodwork from close range before the end, the Azzurri never seriously threatened a fightback and their forgettable campaign in Germany simply fizzled out.

On an evening when Switzerland sent the defending champions packing and booked a second consecutive quarter-final ticket, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Berlin.

Swiss dominance in Berlin

Suffering what was a nightmare World Cup exit out in Qatar 18 months ago as they suffered a 6-1 drumming against Portugal at the Round of 16 stage, Switzerland were always relishing a return to the major tournament stage this summer.

Although they might have signed off their EURO 24 qualifying adventure last year with just a single victory from any of their final seven appearances, the Rossocrociati have made plenty of improvements since opening up the New Year.

Getting their European adventure underway with a thumping 3-1 victory against Hungary on June 15th, Switzerland were unbeaten in all of their three Group A appearances as they followed host nation Germany to the knockout stage.

While there might have been some speculation over Murat Yakin’s future prior to this summer’s European Championships, they now find the mood in their camp at a real high.

Reaching consecutive quarter-finals in their previous two European Championship adventures, the Swiss will now be relishing what could be a heavyweight last eight showdown against England.

A major backlash on the horizon for Italy

Although Italy might have made real history at Wembley three years ago as they got their hands on a third European Championship crown, it was hard to find anyone across the continent that had installed the Azzurri as a genuine contender this time around.

While the now-former European champions might have always known that they faced a tough challenge in Berlin on Saturday evening, Italy were heavily outplayed across the park and sacrificed their title with a real whimper.

Despite snatching what was a sensational last-gasp equaliser against Croatia earlier in the week, the Blues didn’t show any kind of fight in the German capital and now have a major backlash coming their way.

While Spalletti might have worked his magic at Napoli during the 2022/23 campaign as he guided them to a first Serie A title since 1990, questions will be asked over his long-term future in the hot seat.

With some pundits branding this current crop of Italian stars as one of their worst teams in a lifetime, Saturday’s infamous collapse in Berlin must be a turning point for the Azzurri if they are to salvage their reputation.

All eyes on a quarter-final showdown against England

Breezing past the now-former European champions on Saturday evening and making what was a major statement in Berlin, Switzerland will certainly be focused on the Veltins Arena in 24 hours time.

With a struggling England set to meet Slovakia for their Round of 16 showdown on Sunday, Gareth Southgate’s squad have drastically struggled to find any kind of fluidity and have come under plenty of recent scrutiny.

Although the Swiss might be fancying their chances of collecting what would be another heavyweight European scalp, they do hold a nightmare record against England.

Including a 2-1 defeat when they last met the Three Lions back in March 2022 for a friendly showdown at Wembley, they have failed to win any of their previous 13 consecutive meetings – a run that stems all the way back to 1981.

However, with their boisterous support now bouncing onto Dusseldorf for a quarter-final showdown next weekend, the Swiss have proven that they should not be underestimated.

Match Report

Switzerland: Sommer, Rodriguez, Akanji, Schar, Aebuscher, Xhaka, Freuler, Ndoye, Vargas, Rieder, Embolo

Subs: Steffen, Sierro, Zuber, Stergiou, Duah

Italy: Donnarumma, Darmian, Bastoni, Mancini, Di Lorenzo, Barella, Fagioli, Criptante, El Shaarawy, Scamacca, Chiesa

Subs: Cambiaso, Retegui, Frattesi, Pellegrini, Zaccagni

Goals: Freuler (37’), Aebischer (46’)

Yellow Cards: Barella, Mancini, El Shaarawy

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Szymon Marciniak

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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