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Switzerland Stuns Italy Euro 2024 Reign Ends in a Shock Exit

Italy’s journey in Euro 2024 came to a shocking conclusion after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Switzerland in Berlin on Saturday. With goals from Remo Freuler and Ruben Vargas, Switzerland earned their first win against the Azzurri since 1993, effectively ending the reign of the Euro 2020 champions. Italy coach Luciano Spalletti was forthright in his post-match reflections, acknowledging the need for substantial changes within the squad.

Italy’s Gianluca Scamacca and Mattia Zaccagni were among the visibly dejected faces as they walked off the pitch following the unexpected defeat. Spalletti was candid in his evaluation, stating, “We need players with more physicality. When you think you can rely solely on quality but lose intensity, it’s only natural that you need to mix things up.”

The Italian coach didn’t attribute the loss to a single reason but highlighted the overall lack of intensity and tempo. “What happened tonight did not come down to one single cause… if you don’t do more in tempo and intensity, it’s hard to even compete on an even footing. We were under par in terms of intensity. Tonight I made six changes to the line-up because I wanted to allow the players to be fresh, but the tempo was the same.”

Even as Spalletti pointed out the squad’s deficiencies in pace and physicality, he did not shy away from taking the blame for the defeat. “There’s no blame on anyone, I want to stress this,” said the 65-year-old coach. “The responsibility is mine. I’m always on the side of the players, and I thank them for bringing me here to the Euro.”

Having taken over in August 2023 after the surprising resignation of Roberto Mancini, Spalletti admitted to his relative inexperience in the position. “All of the other coaches had 20 games in charge, some had 30 before the Euro, whereas I only had 10,” he highlighted. “The responsibility is mine; I picked the players.

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. Of course, this is part of a process where I need to get to know the players.”

The Italian squad’s performance in the tournament had been inconsistent from the onset. They began their campaign with a victory over Albania in their Group B opener but failed to make a significant impact in a narrow 1-0 loss to Spain. Their journey through the group stages concluded with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Croatia, only salvaged by a 98th-minute equalizer.

Despite the tactical shuffles and changes in the lineup against Switzerland, none of Spalletti’s strategies bore fruit. “Having tried out a number of things over the course of this experience, I do come away with the notion that I have to change things. I’m convinced of that; I have to change things now,” the coach asserted.

Spalletti concluded by addressing the nature of the results his team had faced, stating, “[That said,] it’s not as scandalous a result as you’re trying to paint it to be. Today we were under par, and against Spain, but not against Croatia, we made it through a tough group. However, we didn’t see a team that’s defined, in terms of fundamentals, the foundations we can actually build upon.”

On the other side, Switzerland coach Murat Yakin expressed immense satisfaction with his team’s performance. Their 2-0 victory was a robust signal of their potential as they moved into the quarter-finals for only the second time in history. Yakin praised his players for their remarkable effort, stating, “There are only good sides at the Euros. We went unbeaten in the group stage and played well, and the Germany game showed we can go toe-to-toe with teams like that.”

Yakin emphasized the positive indicators from the game, pointing out that Switzerland did not merely defend and wait for opportunities. “We sent out an important signal tonight with the game we played. We did not only club together and defend as a unit and sit back; we showed we could attack and dominate proceedings,” he added.

As Euro 2024 progresses, Spalletti’s Italy will need to regroup and rethink their approach for future tournaments. The unexpected exit serves as a harsh lesson for Spalletti and his squad, revealing the areas that need revamping if Italy hopes to reclaim their glory in the international football arena.