Euro 2024: 3 key points to take away from the Italy vs Switzerland upset

Italy bow out of the Euro 2024 after a disappointing performance against an extremely motivated Swiss side.
Breel Embolo (left) celebrates with Ruben Vargas (right) as Switzerland go 2-0 up against Italy in their Euro 2024 Round of 16 game
Breel Embolo (left) celebrates with Ruben Vargas (right) as Switzerland go 2-0 up against Italy in their Euro 2024 Round of 16 game / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

The Euro 2024 has conjured up yet another upset. After the last day of the group stages saw Georgia record a shock victory against Portugal, the very first Round of 16 game went on to produce an unexpected winner in Switzerland.

Tasked with facing a struggling Italy side, Switzerland took the upper hand right from the start of the match, completely dominating the first half. After some missed chances, Remo Freuler finally managed to convert a beautiful horizontal pass from Ruben Vargas into the bottom corner, giving Switzerland a much deserved lead.

From there on in, Italy looked extremely desperate and nervous. While fans were expecting a second half comeback from the Azzuris, Ruben Vargas had other plans, putting Switzerland two goals up not even 30 seconds into the second half. Italy never managed to recover and their title defence was over even before the quarter-finals.

Here are 3 key points to take away from what was an exhilarating match - at least for the Switzerland supporters.

1. Italy were extremely affected by the absence of Riccardo Calafiori

The Bologna defender had started all three group stage games for Luciano Spalletti's side. Despite an own goal in their loss to Spain, Calafiori had been extremely consistent and strong when it came to defending their box.

He also added a dimension of attacking threat with his ability to carry the ball out from the back - exactly what led to Italy's last minute equalizer against Croatia. With Calafiori absent due to suspension, Spalletti decided to fall back on Gianluca Mancini - but the Italian defence did not look the same.

While Switzerland managed to cope with the loss of Silvan Widmer after Dan Ndoye put in an incredible shift at right wing back, Italy could not manage to do the same.

2. The Italian attack looked helpless at times

While moments of individual brilliance had saved Italy throughout the group stage games, the Italian attack never looked convincing enough. Be it Nicolo Barella's insane volley or Mattia Zaccagni's beautiful curler, the rest of the Italy strikers never managed to turn up in any of the games.

Italy were completely dependent on their defense - mostly on Gianlugi Donnarumma to win them the matches. However, once that did not work out, the Azzuris did not have a plan B to fall on to.

Scamacca looked hopeless at front while Federico Chiesa's runs ended up purposeless due to no support from his teammates. El Sharaawy's introduction to the starting line-up failed to make any positive impact either. The Italian team had a total of one shot in the whole of the first half as compared to 10 from Switzerland, and that tells the whole story.

3. Switzerland were extremely motivated and shouldn't be overlooked

Right from the start of the match, the Swiss started to hunt in packs. They pressed high up the pitch and started doubling up on the Italians.

Looking at the game from a neutral perspective, it just seemed like the Swiss players wanted it more, and it paid off for them. Even with two goals to the good, Switzerland did not look to waste time and kept on pushing for more.

The Swiss will next face England or Slovakia on July 6 in the quarter-finals. If England do manage to beat Slovakia, they have to be extremely wary of the Switzerland side. With the three at the back approach, Murat Yakin's men won't hesitate to punish a team that drops off and sits back.


Can Switzerland pull off another upset and make their way into the semis - it remains to be seen.