Having scraped into the last 16 of the 2024 European Championship after an extremely underwhelming group stage display, the Italy Men’s National Team will take on Switzerland and Luciano Spalletti has a lot of decisions to make.

There was mystery around how Italy would line up right until the team news came out before the first match against Albania, and the performances that followed from the Azzurri have not made it any more certain as to what the best formation is.

Many wanted to see a 3-5-2/3-4-2-1, but Spalletti went with a 4-2-3-1 in the first two matches to make the most of the attacking midfielders in the team. Against Croatia, though, the Azzurri switched to a 3-5-2 and there was little in the way of improvement.

Considering Italy were well-beaten by Spain and needed a 98th-minute equaliser against a poor Croatia side, there is every reason to be very concerned about facing this impressive Switzerland team.

What formation will suit Federico Chiesa and Jorginho?

Italy Chiesa Euro 2024
Federico Chiesa in Italy training at Euro 2024. [@Azzurri]

The formation question is set to stay with Italy for as long as they are in this tournament. There are certain players that Luciano Spalletti knows can be crucial, but they don’t necessarily all fit into the same formation.

There is a good chance that Spalletti sticks with a back three against Switzerland given the opponents play with a similar formation, meaning Italy can match them up and hope that individual quality makes the difference.

This would suit Jorginho, who seems to be at his best when he has two other central midfielders next to him to do more of the running. The Arsenal player has faltered in the 4-2-3-1 but his technical ability demands a place in the team.

Arguably Italy‘s best attacker in the right circumstances is Federico Chiesa, but the 3-5-2 does not suit him. He has been largely ineffective as a second striker and is better when he can get wide.

Will Mattia Zaccagni start for Italy vs Switzerland?

Mattia Zaccagni celebrates scoring for the Italy Men’s National Team at Euro 2024. (@Azzurri)

As the hero of the group stage thanks to that wonderful strike against Croatia that kept Italy at Euro 2024, there is an understandable clamour for Zaccagni to start against Switzerland. Confidence is a huge thing in tournament football and Zaccagni will feel very confident after that goal.

This takes us back to the formation issue, though. The Lazio man is not a wing-back or a striker and has no place in a 3-5-2. Arguably the best formation to accommodate Jorginho, Chiesa and Zaccagni is a 4-3-3, which is what Spalletti used when he was Napoli coach.

Jorginho gets a bit more help in midfield, Zaccagni and Chiesa can play as actual wingers, and the coach only has to choose one striker given none of them are exactly pulling up trees in Germany.

Who replaces Riccardo Calafiori in the Italy XI vs Switzerland?

Riccardo Calafiori celebrates with the Italy Men’s National Team at Euro 2024. [@Azzurri]

Another big decision that Spalletti must make is in the defence. Riccardo Calafiori has been the star of an overall disappointing show so far, but he is suspended and will play no part against Switzerland on Saturday evening.

There are plenty of centre-back options in this squad and regardless of whether he uses a back three or a back four, you’d expect Alessandro Bastoni to hold his place. If it is a three, expect Matteo Darmian to also remain.

Federico Gatti, Gianluca Mancini and Alessandro Buongiorno are the candidates to come in and all three of them are yet to play a minute at the tournament. There is almost nothing to go on so Spalletti is likely to keep fans guessing until the hours before kick-off.