Superb Switzerland knock holders Italy out of Euro 2024

Switzerland outclassed Italy with a deserved 2-0 win in Berlin to knock the holders out of Euro 2024 and set up a possible quarter-final with England.

Luciano Spalletti had changed six of the Italy starting line-up, searching for something, but there was no sign of it as Switzerland were the better side from the outset. Breel Embolo came close to finding the breakthrough even before Remo Freuler’s opener.

Switzerland had 65 per cent of the ball and eight of the first nine attempts at goal prior to taking a well-earned lead when Ruben Vargas’ centre was met by the Nottingham Forest midfielder. He became the sixth different scorer for his side at Euro 2024.

Vargas became the seventh just 27 seconds after the restart. Italy lost possession from their own kick-off and when the ball reached the winger on the edge of the penalty box, he curled beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma and into the top corner.

Italy offered little in response, coming closest to pulling one back only when Fabian Schar headed against his own crossbar. Their reign as champions of Europe is over. Switzerland’s bid will continue against England or Slovakia next weekend in Dusseldorf.

Sensational Xhaka inspiring Switzerland

Granit Xhaka for the Ballon d’Or? It might sound far-fetched but after playing a pivotal role in Bayer Leverkusen winning the double in Germany, completed by a cup win in Berlin, he was back in the capital to take his country closer to a trophy of their own.

In the first half, the midfielder completed more passes in the final third of the pitch than the entire Italy team put together. He controlled the contest, keeping the ball moving at a quick tempo. The intelligence of his distribution is key for Murat Yakin’s side.

Granit Xhaka's touch map for Switzerland against Italy at Euro 2024
Granit Xhaka’s touch map for Switzerland against Italy at Euro 2024

Even if England are able to find a way past Slovakia, they will have their work cut out against Switzerland in the quarter-final. Few fancied them beforehand but they are now three wins away from the trophy. And what would be a miracle season for Granit Xhaka.

Stats: Story of the match

Who else faces who in the last 16?

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