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Defending champion Italy has been eliminated from the 2024 European Championship. In the round of 16 in Berlin, the champion coached by Luciano Spalletti lost to Switzerland with a weak 0-2 defeat.

Three years after winning the cup at Wembley, the European champions were just a shadow of the team that won the title in 2021.

They were clearly beaten on Saturday by a Swiss team that reached the quarter-finals of the European Championship for only the second time in its history.

A goal in each half from Remo Freuler and Ruben Vargas was enough for Switzerland to win, with Murat Yakin’s players taking full advantage of Italy’s lethargy to reach a quarter-final clash against England or Slovakia.

Switzerland dominated the game from the start and pushed Italy into their own half, but it took until the middle of the opening phase before they had their first chances to score.

Breel Embolo chose the perfect time to stay offside as he headed towards Fabian Rieder’s ball. He opened his body and tried to fire the ball into the far post, but was denied by a brilliant save from Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The first goal came after 37 minutes. Vargas received the ball wide to the left and passed it to Freuler, who arrived in the box. He bounced the ball in the air with a clever first touch before hammering it home at the near post after a slight deflection from Gianluca Mancini.

Rieder took a brilliant free kick that almost surprised Donnarumma just before half-time, but his spectacular effort required a brilliant save from the Italian goalkeeper, who deflected the ball onto the post.

Italy was inferior and just seconds after the restart the score reflected Switzerland’s dominance more clearly.

Vargas won the ball on the edge of the box and, with no defense to contend with, took aim and sent his unstoppable shot past Donnarumma’s reach into the top corner – just 27 seconds into the second half.

The defending champions almost had a chance when Swiss defender Fabian Schar inadvertently headed a cross onto his own post, seemingly without any pressure. Goalkeeper Yann Sommer was rooted to the spot when the ball hit his post.

Gianluca Scamacca also hit the post for Italy on a rare foray into the Swiss penalty area from just three metres out, but the defending champions were eliminated from the tournament without much resistance while Switzerland marched on.

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