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Euro 2024: Italy knocked out by Switzerland in last 16

BERLIN –

Defending champion Italy crashed out of the European Championship after losing to Switzerland 2-0 in the last 16 on Saturday.

Goals in each half from Remo Freuler and Ruben Vargas gave the Swiss their first win over their southern neighbor for 31 years and set up a quarterfinal against England or Slovakia in Düsseldorf on July 6.

Switzerland dominated in terms of possession, shots, attacks and passes.

By the time Italy responded in the second half, the aggressive Swiss defense was able to deal with it as coach Murat Yakin’s gameplan worked to perfection.

Freuler deservedly broke the deadlock in the 37th minute when he set up Vargas’ cross with his first touch and smashed it in with his next.

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who had earlier denied Breel Embolo in a one-on-one, produced a flying save to deflect Fabian Riedler’s free kick onto the post before the break.

Switzerland’s Ruben Vargas, centre, celebrates with teammates after scoring during the Switzerland and Italy game at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, on June 29, 2024. (Soeren Stache/dpa via AP)

But the second half had barely started before Vargas curled a shot from the edge of the penalty area inside the top right corner.

Switzerland defender Fabian Schär was relieved to see his attempted headed clearance rebound off the post minutes later.

Fans tried to get a Mexican wave going through the Olympiastadion but the Italian fans were not in the mood.

Italy pushed forward in search of a way back but couldn’t find a way through. Gianluca Scamacca went closest when he hit the post but looked offside in any case.

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Italy coach Luciano Spalletti spoke of his team’s “ beautiful suits ” before the Spain game, but this time, after substitute Mattia Zaccagni’s last-second equalizer against Croatia, he was unable to pull a rabbit out of Italy’s hat.

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