Italy begin inquest after suffering embarrassing Euros elimination | Nicky Bandini

The holders were meekly disposed of by Switzerland in the last 16 and now a root-and-branch review is required

Berlin, the city where they won a World Cup in 2006, has a special place in Italy’s footballing imagination. The prospect of returning for a last-16 tie at Euro 2024 was so thrilling it caused one commentator to trip over his tongue. Fabio Caressa, whose breathless repetition of “goal by [Fabio] Grosso!” became almost as iconic as that player’s semi-final strike 18 years ago, spluttered for a moment after Mattia Zaccagni’s equaliser against Croatia on Monday and briefly was unable to speak.

Caressa had no such trouble finding his words, on Saturday night, after the Azzurri were eliminated by a 2-0 defeat to Switzerland. “The way we played tonight was unacceptable,” said Caressa during a post-match discussion on the Italian broadcaster Sky Sport. “We have to be able to say that. This match was unwatchable … this is not the level of our national team.”

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