EURO2024: Xhaka shines as Switzerland knock hapless Italy out

Switzerland knock Italy out of EURO 2024 || Image credit: Imago

EURO2024: Xhaka shines as Switzerland knock hapless Italy out

Faruq Ibrahim 19:03 - 29.06.2024

Defending champions Italy are the first casualties of the European Championships knockout round after suffering defeat to Switzerland.

Switzerland made light work of Italy, beating them 2-0 to knock them out of the European Championships and advance to the quarter-finals.

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How it happened

Switzerland started on the front foot, showing intent in the opening exchanges and pinning Italy back. However, the Azzurri soon grew into the game and in the 18th minute, they created the best chance of the match at that point when Napoli's Di Lorenzo was slipped in from a free kick, but the right-back struggled to get the ball under his control, and the opportunity went begging. 

The Swiss soon returned to the driving seat of affairs, with beautiful interplay in the first two phases of play but frustratingly imprecise in the final third. 

They had their first real chance of the game in the 24th minute when Breel Embolo was played through on goal. The Monaco forward opened his body and aimed for the far corner, but Gianluigi Donarumma, who had been impressive all tournament, saved fairly comfortably. Less than two minutes later, Federico Chiesa got a chance on the other end of the pitch, but Manchester City’s Manuel Akanji blocked his attempt.

The Rossocrociati soon broke the deadlock, and deservedly so, when Vargas found Remo Freuler in the box. The Bologna midfielder's first touch made the ball bounce before hitting a half-volley past Donnarumma in the 38th minute. 

Italy had to come out of the break with a much-improved side if they were to get back into the game, but it was Switzerland who approached resumption the hungrier side and doubled their lead in the opening minute of the second-half. 

Ruben Vargas, who assisted the first goal, got himself on the score sheet with a stunning effort that he curled past the outstretched Donnarumma to find  the top right corner.

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