Euro 2024 Report: Switzerland 2 – 0 Italy

Remo Freuler of Switzerland celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA EURO 2024 round of 16 match between Switzerland and Italy at Olympiastadion on June 29, 2024 in Berlin

Remo Freuler of Switzerland celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA EURO 2024 round of 16 match between Switzerland and Italy at Olympiastadion on June 29, 2024 in Berlin Credit: (Photo by Alex Pantling - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Macdara Ferris reports from the Olympiastadion in Berlin

Italy gave up their European crown in meek fashion in Berlin on Saturday evening as the Swiss dumped the Azzurri out of EURO 2024 and the recriminations in Italy with Luciano Spalletti are likely to run and run.

Italy won’t want to see the Swiss again any time soon after stopping them from qualification for the last World Cup and now eliminating them with ease from the Euros, leaving the Italian supporters stunned by match end in Berlin. 

Their side could only muster up one shot on target from the four they attempted, compared with the Swiss who struck towards goal 16 times with four on target.

Goals from Remo Freuler and Ruben Vargas either side of half time were the difference on the scoresheet but there was a large gap in performance between the sides throughout the game.

It was the first win for Switzerland over Italy in 31 years and sets up a quarter-final to come in in Düsseldorf on 6 July against either England or Slovakia.

It was a poor enough opening half with the physios nearly having the most prominent role on the pitch with a number of players needing treatment in the first 45 minutes.

It wasn’t exactly a dirty game – maybe a heavy challenge or two might have got things going. That or putting Aleksander Ceferin or Gianni Infantino on the screen to drum up some boos from supporters with both the UEFA and FIFA bosses in attendance in Berlin.

With temperatures just below 30 degrees for this 6pm local kick-off time, maybe that affected the players.

However, tiredness couldn’t have been an issue for the lethargic looking Italian side as Luciano Spalletti had changed more than half of his team from their last gasp 1-1 draw with Croatia in their last group game. 

The best players on the pitch were wearing Swiss red particularly across their front three of Ruben Vargas, Breel Embolo and Dan Ndoyo. 

In the 24th minute Gianluigi Donnarumma did well to save Embolo’s shot after Michel Aebischer played one around the corner. There were shouts for offside but Embolo timed his run well and his shot was pushed away by Donnarumma. 

Ricardo Rodriguez did blast one over the bar on the 32nd minute mark but five minutes later the Swiss had the deserved lead.

Freuler fired home the opener running onto Vargas’ centre from the left after Dan Ndoye had picked up the ball and drifted towards the centre.

That allowed Freuler in behind and he took a touch with his right and rifled home with his left - a slight touch off Gianluca Mancini doing enough to take the ball by the right boot of Donnarumma.

The Italians sniffed around the Swiss penalty area but never forced Yann Sommer into a save with Federico Chiesa the best in blue. His shot was blocked by Manuel Akanji, while Giovanni Di Lorenzo fluffed a volley from a sharply taking free kick.

They had no penetration and nobody up top who could take the game to the Swiss.

At the death just before the half time break, Donnarumma did well to turn Rieder’s free kick from wide right around the post – he was maybe lucky that it didn’t come back off the keeper and go into the net.

It was no surprise to see Spalletti make a change at the break as they looked to hold onto their European crown – El Shaarawy was withdrawn with the goalscoring hero from the Croatia game Mattia Zaccagni coming on in his place.

However he had little impact on the game, not helped as within 30 seconds of the second period getting under way the Swiss had doubled their lead.

Vargas wrapped his right foot around a shot that found the top corner. His beautiful strike left the Swiss fans hopping around the stadium.

Italy were almost handed a lifeline in the 52nd minute when Fabian Schär's defensive header looped beyond Sommer only to bounce out off the post. 

Two goals to the good and Switzerland were happy enough to sitback on their two goal cushion. They looked to break when they could but soaked up the pressure from Italy who had no real penetration.

The neutrals in the crowd, and I don’t mean the Swiss supporters, began a Mexican wave while the Rossocrociati fans went with ‘Olé, Olé’ as their team kept the ball away from the Italians.

Italy did his the post in the 74th minute through Scamacca who did little else in the game.

The Swiss euro pop blasted out after the final whistle with the Swiss team running to their red clad supporters behind the goal to celebrate - their tournament continues into week 3.

Switzerland: Yann Sommer; Fabian Schär, Manuel Akanji, Ricardo Rodriguez; Michel Aebischer (Renato Steffen 90+2), Remo Freuler, Granit Xhaka, Fabian Rieder (Leonidas Stergiou 72); Ruben Vargas (Steven Zuber 71), Breel Embolo (Kwadwo Duah 77), Dan Ndoye (Vincent Sierro 77).
Subs not used: Yvon Mvogo, Gregor Kobel, Nico Elvedi, Cédric Zesiger, Ardon Jashari, Denis Zakaria, Xherdan Shaqiri, Noah Okafor, Zeki Amdouni.

Booked: None.

Italy: Gianluigi Donnarumma; Gionvanni Di Lorenzo, Gianluca Mancini, Alessandro Bastoni, Matteo Darmian (Andrea Cambiaso 75); Bryan Cristante (Lorenzo Pellegrini 75), Nicoli Fagioli (Davide Frattesi 86), Nicolo Barella (Mateo Retegui 64); Federico Chiesa, Gianluca Scamacca, Stephan El Shaarawy (Mattia Zaccagni h/t).
Subs not used: Guglielmo Vicario, Alex Meret, Federico Dimarco, Raoul Bellanova, Alessandro Buongiorno, Federico Gatti, Michael Folorunsho, Jorginho, Giacomo Raspadori, 
Booked: Nicolo Barella (35), Stephan El Shaarawy (45), Gianluca Mancini (57)

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland). Player of the Match: uben Vargas (Switzerland)