After the completion of the group stage, the knockout phase commences at the 2024 European Championship and the Italy Men’s National Team will face Switzerland in the first of the Round-of-16 ties.

Switzerland coach Murat Yakin has implemented a back-three formation since the turn of the year and, up front, he has an attacking trident consisting of Fabian Rieder, Dan Ndoye, and Breel Embolo that provides plenty of movement.

As detailed by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Switzerland are a team that do not keep possession too much and they are ranked 16th at Euro 2024 for that. Despite being ranked 18th for shots on target, La Nati have the best conversion rate after Austria at 16.67%.

Up against such clinical finishing, Italy cannot afford to make any mistakes at the back.

Switzerland’s fluid frontline gives Italy cause for concern

Bologna’s Switzerland Men’s National Team forward Dan Ndoye at Euro 2024. (@BolognaFC1909en)

In attack, Switzerland have Rieder, who is a creative midfielder, Bologna winger Ndoye, and striker Embolo. In Yakin‘s 3-4-2-1 formation, Rieder and Ndoye start behind Embolo, but the three players can easily exchange roles.

If Rieder does not start, Ruben Vargas could take his place, but the tactical roles will not change. At any given moment, the Swiss trident adapts to circumstance, and the forwards need to know when they have to operate as either an attacking midfielder, winger, or centre-forward.

Bologna duo Aebischer and Ndoye crucial

Bologna’s Dan Ndoye and Riccardo Orsolini. (@BolognaFC1909en)

Ndoye has been a part of the Bologna squad that qualified for the 2024/25 Champions League and his Rossoblu teammates Michel Aebischer and Remo Freuler are important to the Switzerland squad as well.

Ndoye and his understanding with Aebischer in particular is critical in making Yakin’s tactics work.

When Aebischer stays on the flank, Ndoye will surge into the penalty area to operate like a striker.

However, if Aebischer moves into a more central role, Ndoye moves to the wing. These movements caused their opponents headaches, even football giants and hosts Germany.

Bologna players, including Remo Freuler and Giovanni Fabbian, salute their fans. (@BolognaFC1909en)

How can Switzerland beat Italy?

If the trio encounters some difficulties, Yakin can bring on AC Milan forward Noah Okafor. He can play as an out-and-out striker or on the wings, and for the Rossoneri, he would come off the bench and score the odd goal.

Then, there is the experienced Xherdan Shaqiri. Even though he is 32 years old and plays for Chicago Fire in the MLS, his goal in the 1-1 draw against Scotland showed that he can still produce something out of nothing.

With Riccardo Calafiori unavailable due to suspension and Federico Dimarco injured, Italy coach Luciano Spalletti will need to overhaul his defence.

If he cannot make his makeshift Azzurri defence tighten things at the back, then Switzerland might be capable of exposing Italy‘s shortcomings.