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Euro 2024 preview: No fear for Swiss ahead of Italy tie

Familiar opponents Italy and Switzerland meet in the Euro 2024 last 16 in Berlin on Saturday, and while familiarity hasn't bred contempt, there is also no fear from the Swiss in facing a country many of their players call home.

Italians and Swiss have long had close ties, sharing a border and Italian is one of the official languages of Switzerland, but that will all be forgotten in Berlin.

Italy and Switzerland have met 61 times, the most common opponent for each country and while the Swiss have beaten the Italians only eight times, most recently in 1993, they have impressed more in Germany.

Switzerland came close to topping Group A before conceding an added-time equaliser in the final game against hosts Germany, and it was a performance which showed they have no fear of anyone at this tournament.

Italy needed a late goal to snatch a 1-1 draw with Croatia to progress, and the defending champions have failed to impress, unlike Euro 2020 when they eased through the group stage and beat the Swiss comfortably.

After seeing off Turkey 3-0 in their opening game three years ago, Italy beat Switzerland by the same score.

Bologna were a team who took Serie A by storm last season, finishing fifth in the standings to secure Champions League football and there could be as many as three Bologna players on the pitch in Berlin, all on the Swiss side.

Unfortunately for Italy, Luciano Spalletti will not have Riccardo Calafiori available, with the Bologna defender suspended. Calafiori made the opposite move to many Swiss players when joining Basel before returning to Italy.

Midfielder Michel Aebischer scored in Switzerland's 3-1 opening win over Hungary, forward Dan Ndoye put them in front against Germany, and Remo Freuler completes the Swiss

Read more on rte.ie