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Switzerland vs Italy: Match Preview, Team News, Predictions and More

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Italy will be looking to capitalise on their exceptional record against Switzerland as we enter the knockout stages of the ongoing European Championships.

Berlin will bleed blue and red as we kick off the round of sixteen with Switzerland, who finished second in Group A, taking on Italy, the runner-up in Group B. It is a game that could easily weigh both ways, with both countries having equal depth and technical ability to make a difference on the day.

Switzerland walk into the game with mighty confidence after a splendid display against Germany in their final fixture of their group stage. While the game ended in a draw, it took ninety minutes for the hosts to find a way beyond Yan Sommer. The game was more than just showcasing their ability to compete against the most elite teams in the championships; they displayed an excellent ability to keep their shape while blocking teams from producing high xG output. They forced Germany to think outside the box and commit a number too far on the offensive side of the game, which aided in some transitional opportunities that could have easily ended up in Neuer’s goal.

Murat Yakin’s men performed exceptionally in their EURO 2024 opener, winning 3-1 over Hungary. Two draws followed in the next two games as they qualified for the final sixteen. However, another draw would not suffice, as it would lead to extra time and potential penalties if the teams are tied when the final whistle blows this Saturday. They have been eliminated in the previous two European Championships following a 1-1 draw in regular time before eventually losing on penalties.

Defending Champions Italy have not had a blazing start to their Euro’s, with only a 98th-minute equaliser against Croatia handing them a Round of 16 lifeline. The defending Champions will be looking to match their tally from the last European Championship when they brought football to Rome following a finale win against England in their home yard.

The Azzurri’s have been rather underwhelming in the ongoing European championships. They started the campaign with a 2-1 win over Albania; however, it soon got difficult as they lost by a singular goal to table-toppers Spain before that historic game against Croatia on Tuesday. While Italy has struggled thus far, they have a history of always finding a way when it matters most in international tournaments, and they will be looking to go deep in yet another one this summer.

Switzerland vs Italy is scheduled for a 5 p.m. BST kick-off at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Saturday, June 29, 2024.

Team News

Switzerland

Following his recent struggles with injuries, complemented by his lack of minutes on the international scene, Breel Embolo made his first start of the campaign against Germany earlier this week. His pace and power could be tricky to deal with, especially in transition-like situations. Embolo is expected to continue to lead the line for the Swiss against the Italians in the Round of 16.

Murat Yakin does have a problem to ponder before the fixture, as Silvan Widmer will be suspended from the game. The Swiss squad does not have a natural replacement on the right wing, and the likes of Dan Ndoye, Fabian Rieder, Steven Zuber, and Michel Aebischer are the options who can step up to fill the void effectively. Alternatively, the Swiss coach can tinkle the system into a 3-4-3 and bring in Nico Elvedi.

Yakin is expected to continue in his current formation of 3-4-2-1 for the Saturday clash. Sommer starts in goal with the trio of Schar, Akanji, and Rodriguez making up the defensive line. All of the aforementioned trio have been exceptional this season, not only on the defensive side of the game but also in pinging long balls to the offensive line. He may put Dan Ndoye in the wing-back role, with Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler at the heart of the park. Michel Aebischer continues in his left-wing back role. Fabain Reider could be paired with Ruben Vargas in the attacking midfield role, with Embolo upfront.

Switzerland Playing XI (3-4-2-1): Sommer, Schar, Akanji, Rodriguez, Ndoye, Xhaka, Freuler, Aebischer, Reider, Vargas, Embolo

Switzerland vs Italy: Predicted lineup of the Swiss for the fixture.

Italy

Like Switzerland, Italy will also be missing a pivotal piece in their lineup, as Riccardo Calafiori will have to sit this one out after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament against the Croats. The 22-year-old has been the highlight of the tournament for many as he brought his Bologna form into the European Championships and has become a crucial part of Italy’s defensive solidity. His absence at the back will undoubtedly be felt by Luciano Spalletti’s team, but Italy’s depth and tactical flexibility may still allow them to adapt effectively. They have the trio of Alessandro Buongiorno, Federico Gatti, and Gianluca Mancini, who can take Calafiori’s place in the starting lineup this weekend.

While the Italian defensive solidity is almost never in doubt, they have struggled to score goals against top-tier opponents in the ongoing Euros. This does raise concerns about their ability to advance deep into the tournament. Zaccagni may earn himself a call to the starting eleven following his goal against Croatia in the dying minutes.

PSG goalkeeper Donnarumma starts in between the sticks as Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Federico Dimarco continue in their full-back roles. Alessandro Buongiorno may be paired alongside Bastoni, with Jorginho taking up the number-six role ahead of the defensive line. Barella and Fratessi complete the midfield, with Chiesa and Zaccagni picking up flank roles to support Gianluca Scamacca in the number nine role.

Italy Playing XI (4-1-4-1): Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Mancini, Bastoni, Dimarco, Jorginho, Barella, Fratessi, Chiesa, Zaccagni, Scamacca

Switzerland vs Italy: Predicted lineup of Italy for the fixture.

Switzerland vs Italy: Key Stats

  • Switzerland has not defeated Italy for over 31 years. This streak encompasses over eleven games with five losses and six draws.
  • Switzerland has not lost in the last seven games.
  • The Azzurri’s have not scored more than two goals in their last eight games; however, they have not conceded more than one in any of those fixtures either.
  • Italy have won only five of their last ten games, losing to Spain and England in that run.

Match-deciding duel

Granit Xhaka vs. Nicolò Barella

Xhaka is a leader among men; he has shown his leadership capabilities with Switzerland when it mattered the most, and once again, his team will look up to the former Arsenal star who can control the game away from Italy. His undeniable passion to make a mark while having that technical understanding from the middle of the park can make a big difference for the Swiss side. He has excelled in ball recoveries and long-distance passing in the ongoing European Championship, and the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder would want to wake up and inspire his teammates to rise to the occasion and achieve a historic victory against the formidable yet struggling Italian side.

While for the Italians, Barella has the capacity to deliver magic moments out of thin air, and he would be looking to make an impact in that number eight role this weekend. The game is set for an exciting duel between two midfield maestros, with each boasting the capacity to turn the tide for their side on the day.

Prediction

Switzerland 2-1 Italy

The Azzurri’s have looked an underwhelming side in the build up to the knock-out rounds and Switzerland have shown a tactical discipline that can inspire them to a historic win this weekend. Switzerland, if they keep their tactical steup intact, has the capacity to give some major troubles to Luciano Spalletti’s team.