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All over for poor Italy but hosts march on in UEFA Euro finals

No-one is safe at UEFA Euro 2024. Holders Italy have been dismissed from the finals while hosts Germany overcame Denmark but needed the help of VAR and their opponents’ poor finishing. Both times the margin was 2-0.


Italy’s three-year reign was the shortest in Euro history since they had been crowned in 2021 after the finals had been delayed through the Covid pandemic. The inevitable inquest will focus on coach Luciano Spalletti’s repeated tactical shifts but, worse, they slipped out of the tournament with barely a whimper or kick in anger.

Spalletti said: “The responsibility is always mine. I want to thank the players for having brought me here. We had a number of players who suffered injuries, players I was counting on, and you saw that in terms of intensity we were under par.”


Switzerland were almost always first to the ball and had better ideas about how to use it. Ruben Vargas in attack, Manuel Akanji in defence and hard-working captain Granit Xhaka were outstanding in a first victory over their southern neighbours in 12 matches over 30 years.

The Swiss went ahead through a left-foot volley by Remo Freuler after 37 minutes. Some 27 seconds into the second half Italy gave away the ball from kickoff and Vargas curled a shot into the top left-hand corner of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal. Next stop Dusseldorf and England or Slovakia.

As for hosts Germany, next rivals will be Spain or Georgia after they defused the latest version of Danish Dynamite in Dortmund.


Kai Havertz (penalty) and Jamal Musiala scored the goals in the second half after destiny and VAR played two cruel tricks in quick succession on Denmark’s Joachim Andersen.

Victory was narrow but deserved against a Danish side undermined by poor finishing. They scored only twice in the group stage and Ramus Hojlund missed three crucial chances against Germany.

The hosts began with an urgency which illustrated their determination to turn the back on a depressing recent past.

VAR saved Denmark from conceding a goal after only four minutes and they had just begun to push forward at the command of playmaker Christian Eriksen when, after half an hour, a thunderstorm forced a 30-minute break in play.


The first six minutes of the second half proved decisive. First luckless Andersen had a goal marginally disallowed by VAR for offside against Thomas Delaney then, two minutes later, he was penalised in his own penalty area for handling a David Raum cross.

Havertz converted the penalty to become the first German to score more than one match-time penalty in a major tournament since the great Fritz Walter in the 1954 World Cup.

Worse was to follow for Denmark when a long upfield ball dropped over the heads of the Danish defenders and Musiala ran clear to rub salt into their wounds with his third goal of the finals.

Remaining round of 16:

Sunday: England v Slovakia; Spain v Georgia.

Monday: France v Belgium; Portugal v Romania.

Tuesday: Romania v Netherlands; Austria v Turkey.

Credit: AIPS Media 

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