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Italy And Luciano Spalletti At Crossroads After Euros Title Defence Disaster

Italy are once again staring into the footballing abyss after Saturday's humbling exit from Euro 2024 at the hands of Switzerland, the defence of their continental title ending in embarrassing fashion. A shockingly one-sided tie in Berlin, where Italy won the 2006 World Cup, led to a dismal last-16 exit after Luciano Spalletti's side had scraped through the group stage by the skin of their teeth. Saturday's limp defeat was one of the lowest points in the history of the four-time world champions and reigning kings of Europe, and the latest in a worryingly large number of recent humiliations, including missing out on the last two World Cups.

Italy were pinned back by the Swiss in the first half and after Ruben Vargas' brilliant strike seconds after half-time they were easily held at arm's length as they limped out of the tournament.

On Italy's national broadcaster RAI the verdict was swift and brutal: "unacceptable", "slow and predictable", said disconsolate commentators.

After the match, Spalletti lamented to RAI how Vargas' goal "took our legs out from under us" and said that his players didn't come into the tournament in the right physical condition to compete.

He also suggested that Italy were affected by the heat in Berlin's Olympiastadion, even though it didn't stop the Swiss from performing at their best.

"Unfortunately, sharpness and tempo makes the difference," said Spalletti.

"Right now, for too many reasons, we are unable to do anything more than this."

It was not a convincing explanation for such disjointed performances over four matches and those comments followed a series of bizarre outbursts from Spalletti, who took the Italy job last summer with a huge amount of credit accrued after leading Napoli to a