European Championship Last 16: Switzerland – Italy

The Euro´s finally really have started. After 2 weeks of group stage matches where most favourites did not have to fully exert themselves go through we have reached the knockout stage. 16 of the 24 participants are still in play, as under the new system also 4 of the 6 numbers 3 go through to the knockout stages. The tournament started very exciting with lots of goals and entertainment but the last round of group stage games actually saw below average goals, with 3 of the 8 matches ending in 0-0. Many teams, knowing that a draw would take them through played for a draw to secure qualification rather than play for a win.

Switzerland Team News

Switzerland miss Widmer due to a suspension of 2 yellow cards in the group stage. Apart from that, all importantplayers are available. This results in Sommer on goal, a back 3 of Akanji,Schar and Rodriguez with wing backs Aebischer and Rieder. In the midfield Atalanta star Freuler and Leverkusen powerhouse Granit Xhaka form the midfield block. Embolo is again the striker up front and he is alongside by Vargas and Ndoye on the wing.

Italy Team News

Italy miss star man Ricardo Calafiori as the Bologna centre back is suspended for the game. Not only is he important at the back with his defensive ability, he also was instrumental in Italy´s qualification with the assist for the equaliser that send Italy through against Croatia. His suspension means that Mancini comes in at centre back, while Darmian is playing on leftback next to Bastoni. On the right back it is Di lorenzo that completes that defense in front of donnaruma. On the midfield Cristante,Barella and Fagioli will be the link between defense and attack. Up front, Scamacca is accompanied by El Shaaraway and Chiesa, who Spaletti hopes can spark the creativity that is needed to dismantle the Swiss defense. 

Switzerland Form

Switzerland had a solid group stage with the opening win against Hungary almost guaranteeing qualification already for the Swiss. The second match against Scotland was not the best match they ever played but also they were never in real trouble of losing that game. Their most inspiring performance came against Germany in the last game as they almost managed to beat them and take the top spot in the group. However, a late equaliser from Fullkrug meant that Switzerland were finishing in 2nd place. However, given the draw of both teams, it might not be the worst draw for Switzerland as they evade Portugal,France and Spain in their half of the draw.

Italy Form

Italy are yet to convince at this year´s Euro. In the opening game against Albania they survived a first minute scare as they managed to overturn the deficit in a 2-1 victory. However, their performance was for from inspiring and left us with questions on their strength this  year. In the 2nd game, Italy got lucky that they only lost by 1 goal to Spain as they were outplayed for the entirety of the match by Spain´s direct new tiki taka style of play. In the 3rd game, despite being the better side of the 2, they needed an 98 minute equaliser to salvage a draw against Croatia and thus secure qualification. Looking back, if that goal hadn´t been scored Italy would have been classified as the 5th number 3 and thus would have been eliminated from the tournament.  

What do the stats say?

  • 5 of the last 6 games between these sides ended in a draw
  • The last time Switzerland won against Italy was in 1993
  • Switzerland are yet to score more than one time in a game since 1992 against Italy

Our verdict

This has a draw written all over it in our opinion. Switzerland are very strong at the back and look very stable while Italy lack firepower up front to really threaten opponents. 5 of the last 6 games also ended in a draw and both teams have already drawn in this tournament. A draw and penalties all the way is definitely possible, otherwise either side could nick it in a close battled contest. 

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