International Soccer

Player ratings as holders crash out of Euro 2024 at last 16 stage

Italy’s defence of the European Championship came to an end with a 2-0 defeat to Switzerland in the last 16 of Euro 2024.

The Azzurri were second-best from start to finish at the Olympiastadion in Berlin and head home after only four games of the tournament.

Switzerland’s status as one of the summer’s leading dark horses remains in tact and they’ll be fancied to cause further scalps after a fine team performance on Saturday.

How the game unfolded

Switzerland made a tremendous start to the game and nearly took the lead when Breel Embolo beat the Italian offside trap and was set through by Michel Aebischer one-on-one with Gianluigi Donnarumma, who made a full-stretch save to deny the striker.

With 37 minutes on the clock, Switzerland got the goal they deserved. Ruben Vargas’ pass inside found Remo Freuler crashing into the 18-yard box, and his half-volley after looping his first touch in the air beat Donnarumma at the near post.

On the stroke of half-time, Donnarumma pushed a free-kick from Fabian Rieder onto the post and behind as Italy got into the break only one goal down.

But within 30 seconds of the restart, Switzerland doubled their lead. Vargas managed to find a yard of space to turn and shoot from just inside the 18 yard box, and he picked out the top corner.

Italy needed something out of nothing to get back into the game, and they so nearly got their wish when Fabian Schar headed a speculative cross against his own post when under little pressure.

Another opening came and went when Mattia Zaccagni headed down for Gianluca Scamacca to strike from close range, but his effort cannonned off the post. Replays suggested a goal would have been ruled out for offside regardless.

Only two minutes of stoppage time were added at the end of the second half as Italy were swiftly put out of their misery and their elimination was confirmed.

Switzerland will face either England or Slovakia in the quarter-finals.

Ruben Vargas

Vargas scored Switzerland’s second / Stu Forster/GettyImages

GK: Yann Sommer – 6/10 – A passenger for the most part. Kept his composure when playing from the back.

CB: Fabian Schar – 7/10 – A strange header onto his own post was the only real blemish on Schar’s magnificent performance.

CB: Manuel Akanji – 8/10 – Completely shut down the threat of Scamacca without having to do very much.

CB: Ricardo Rodriguez – 7/10 – Harked back to his left-back days with both overlapping and underlapping runs into the final third, much to the confusion of Italy.

RM: Fabian Rieder – 7/10 – Combined well with Ndoye down the right flank, perplexing Italy with their ability to attack them inside and out.

CM: Remo Freuler – 8/10 – Got the ball rolling with a supremely well-taken goal. The perfect partner for Xhaka.

CM: Granit Xhaka – 9/10 – One of the best midfielders in the world? You could make a compelling case right about now. Another all-round top-level display from Xhaka, and by far the best player on the pitch who didn’t directly contribute to a goal.

LM: Michel Aebischer – 8/10 – Antonio Conte should have his eyes on Switzerland’s wing-backs because they have been outstanding this tournament. Aebischer acted like a playmaker coming in off the left.

RF: Dan Ndoye – 8/10 – One of Euro 2024‘s breakout stars added another fine performance to his tournament CV. Pulled Italy to-and-fro with runs across the frontline.

CF: Breel Embolo – 7/10 – A willing runner for the team. Should have been the one to open the scoring with his early chance, but deservedly ended on the winning side nevertheless.

LF: Ruben Vargas – 9/10 – So often a nearly-man at international tournaments, but this was his day. Popped up with a clever assist before taking centre stage with a screamer at the start of the second half.

Substitutes

SUB: Leaonidas Stergiou (72′ for Rieder) – 6/10

SUB: Steven Zuber (72′ for Vargas) – 6/10

SUB: Vincent Sierro (77′ for Ndoye) – 6/10

SUB: Kwadwo Duah (77′ for Embolo) – 6/10

SUB: Renato Steffen (90′ for Aebischer) – N/A

Subs not used: Yvon Mvogo (GK), Gregor Kobel (GK), Nico Elvedi, Cedric Zesiger, Denis Zakaria, Ardon Jashari, Xherdan Shaqiri, Noah Okafor, Zeki Amdouni

Manager

Murat Yakin – 9/10 – The performance of his managerial career. Switzerland were dominant in every area. Yakin should feel proud tonight.

Switzerland v Italy: Round of 16 - UEFA EURO 2024

Italy were shocking / James Baylis – AMA/GettyImages

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – 6/10 – Made some fine saves to keep the scoreline down but was betrayed by the horrendous performances from his teammates wearing blue.

RB: Giovanni Di Lorenzo – 2/10 – Vargas and Aebischer had their way with the wily full-back from minute one. He never recovered.

CB: Gianluca Mancini – 5/10 – Defended the box well in place of the suspended Riccardo Calafiori but Italy missed that extra finesse in playing from the back.

CB: Alessandro Bastoni – 5/10 – Likewise got his head on crosses but Italy’s backline cracked under the pressure put on Switzerland.

LB: Matteo Darmian – 3/10 – Looked every bit of his 34 years of age. Put in a blender by the dynamic duo of Ndoye and Rieder.

CM: Bryan Cristante – 2/10 – Whether he was misplacing passes or making wrong decisions off the ball, Cristante was a total liability.

CM: Nicolo Fagioli – 2/10 – His awful pass from the kick-off to begin the second half led to Switzerland’s second goal.

CM: Nicolo Barella – 2/10 – Sustained a knock in the first half but that was no excuse for his poor passing even when under no pressure.

RW: Federico Chiesa – 5/10 – Showed brief flashes of his unpredictability, but not very often and not enough for Switzerland to panic.

CF: Gianluca Scamacca – 2/10 – Offered absolutely no threat or presence despite being the tallest player on the pitch.

LW: Stephan El Shaarawy – 2/10 – Woeful when in possession, which wasn’t too often because he hardly showed for it. Stumbled over the pitch clumsily before being withdrawn at the break.

Substitutes

SUB: Mattia Zaccagni (46′ for El Shaarawy) – 5/10 – Brought more liveliness to possession, but that mattered little when Italy fought so little to have the ball.

SUB: Mateo Retagui (64′ for Barella) – 5/10

SUB: Andrea Cambiasso (75′ for Darmian) – 5/10

SUB: Lorenzo Pellegrini (75′ for Cristante) – 5/10

SUB: Davide Frattesi (86′ for Fagioli) – N/A

Subs not used: Guglielmo Vicario (GK), Alex Meret (GK), Alessandro Buongiorno, Federico Gatti, Raoul Bellanova, Federico Dimarco, Jorginho, Michael Folorunsho, Giacoma Raspadori

Manager

Luciano Spalletti – 1/10 – Made six changes in the hope of a better performance. Got the exact opposite. The Italian inquest will not be kind to their manager.

Player of the match – Ruben Vargas (Switzerland)

Ruben Vargas

The main man / Image Photo Agency/GettyImages

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