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Euro 2024: Switzerland knock defending champions Italy out with commanding 2-0 win in round of 16

Switzerland delivered a commanding 2-0 victory over defending champions Italy in the Euro 2024 Round of 16, securing their place in the quarterfinals.

football Euro 2024: Switzerland knock defending champions Italy out with commanding 2-0 win in round of 16 snt
First Published Jun 29, 2024, 11:37 PM IST

In a highly anticipated Euro 2024 Round of 16 clash at Berlin's Olympiastadion on Saturday night, Switzerland delivered a commanding performance to secure a 2-0 victory over the defending champions, Italy. The Swiss team dominated from the outset, showcasing their superior tactics and composure. Despite Italy's efforts to find a foothold in the game, Switzerland's relentless pressure and solid defense proved insurmountable. This defeat marks a significant setback for Italy, who were hoping to replicate their Euro 2020 triumph. With this win, Switzerland advances to the quarterfinals, where they await the winner of the England vs. Slovakia match.

Switzerland got off to a flying start, winning a corner almost immediately that had Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma scrambling. The first 20 minutes were dominated by the Swiss, with Italy struggling to find their footing. Granit Xhaka was particularly influential, dictating the pace of the game and having more touches than most of the Italian side combined.

Italy’s Nicolo Barella suffered an early injury scare in the 10th minute, halting the game briefly. After some treatment, he was able to continue, but it did little to shift the momentum in Italy’s favor.

Switzerland had a golden opportunity in the 24th minute when Breel Embolo ran onto a ball over the top, but his effort was brilliantly saved by Donnarumma. Replays showed Embolo was onside, providing a massive let-off for the Azzurri.

The pressure finally told in the 37th minute when Remo Freuler, in a Lampard-esque move, ghosted into the Italian penalty area and finished past Donnarumma to give Switzerland a deserved lead. This marked the fourth consecutive game in which Italy had fallen behind.

Italy’s struggles continued, with El Shaarawy and Barella both picking up yellow cards before halftime. Despite a late save from Donnarumma to deny Fabian Reider’s free-kick, Italy went into the break trailing 1-0 and looking second best.

The second half started disastrously for Italy as Ruben Vargas capitalized on a giveaway to curl a stunning finish past Donnarumma just 46 seconds in, doubling Switzerland’s lead. Italy’s woes continued, with Fabian Schar almost gifting them a lifeline by heading onto his own post, but luck was not on their side.

Despite a slight resurgence and a couple of near misses, including Gianluca Scamacca hitting the post, Italy managed their first shot on target only in the 70th minute. Switzerland’s defense held firm, ensuring their place in the last eight.

As the final whistle blew after two minutes of added time, the Swiss fans erupted in celebration. Switzerland’s impressive performance earned them a quarterfinal spot against either England or Slovakia, and marked the second consecutive time they reached the last eight in the European Championship.

For Italy, the loss was a bitter end to their campaign, as they never truly looked like the defending champions. The Swiss, meanwhile, will head into the quarterfinals full of confidence, dreaming of another major scalp on their path to potential glory.

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