Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

Switzerland made back-to-back quarter-finals at the UEFA European Championships in style, sending home reigning champions Italy following a 2-0 win at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Saturday.

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Murat Yakin’s men controlled and dominated the first half with Remo Freuler giving them the breakthrough in the 37th minute.

It was thanks to their goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma that an underwhelming Azzurri went into the interval only 1-0 down as the PSG custodian made brilliant stops to deny Breel Embolo and Fabian Rieder in the first period.

The Swiss began the second period with a bang asRuben Vargas scored the second fastest-ever goal in the second half of a Euros match – just 27 seconds in.

Italy saw plenty of the ball for the remainder of the game to boost their overall possession to 50.6 per cent, but the closest Luciano Spalletti’s side came to scoring was when Swiss centre-back Fabian Schar and then Gianluca Scamacca hit Yann Sommer’s woodwork.

Switzerland will fancy their chances when they face one of England or Slovakia in the last eight, in Dusseldorf on July 6.


Switzerland reached the knockout stages of the European championship unbeaten from Group A where they kicked off their campaign with a 3-1 win against Hungary. Murat Yakin’s side were then held 1-1 by Scotland before going seconds away from winning the group as they were denied a victory by Germany in the second-half stoppage time. The Swiss have only lost once in their last 13 games in this competition, but that defeat came against Italy in the group stage of the Euro 2020.

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Italy on the other hand scraped through to the last 16 after scoring in the last minute of stoppage time to earn a 1-1 draw against Croatia in their final group match. Luciano Spalletti’s side began their title defence with a 2-1 victory against Albania in Dortmund but lost 1-0 to Group B winners Spain in their second outing.

Memories of defeating then-World champions France at this stage three years ago injected a surge of optimism into Switzerland’s early endeavours, and the so-called underdogs looked extremely assured in possession.

As excellent as Italy were poor, Switzerland cruised to a first victory in nine head-to-head against their Southern neighbours, and just a second since they hosted the 1954 FIFA World Cup.

Spalletti’s days may well be numbered after such a substandard display in Germany, while either England or Slovakia awaits Yakin’s men in the final eight.

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