Spalletti: Italy Euro '24 failure my 'responsibility'

Italy coach Luciano Spalletti said he took full responsibility for his team’s exit from the European Championship in the first knockout round after a 2-0 loss against Switzerland.

However, the 65-year-old former Napoli boss also complained he had not had enough matches in which to blend his team ahead of the defeat, which marked Italy’s first elimination before the quarterfinal stage of the Euros in 20 years.

“I have the responsibility,” Spalletti said at the post-match news conference.

“We failed because of my team selection, it is never down to the players.”

Spalletti said, however, that he did not have enough time to get to know the team better.

All other coaches had 30 or even more games with their teams before the tournament started, he said, adding: “I only had 10.”

He added: “There is the possibility of building something, but it takes a little more time. I didn’t have a lot of it. If we look at my predecessors, almost all of them had more games than me.”

Spalletti was appointed Italy’s national team manager in August 2023, following the resignation of Roberto Mancini.

He made six changes to his starting lineup against the Swiss, but instead of instilling energy and creativity into the team, they looked disjointed and without invention, and barely managed a shot on goal.

Italy had to play without one of their most impressive players in Germany, the suspended defender Riccardo Calafiori.

Goals in each half from Remo Freuler and Ruben Vargas gave the Swiss their first win over their southern neighbor for 31 years and set up a quarterfinal against England or Slovakia in Düsseldorf on July 6.

“That goal at the start of the second half cut our legs, we weren’t very incisive,” Spalletti told reporters. “What made the difference is the pace, we had a pace that was too inferior to them in the first half. Even in the individual players there was a different pace.

“Pace and freshness always makes the difference, I changed the players by letting them recover and maybe at the moment here we are not able to do more than this. World Cup? A discussion that will be done later, we need more legs and more pace.

Asked whether he had expected Italy to play so poorly, Switzerland coach Murat Yakin said sticking to their usual system and keeping players in their positions was enough to get the job done.

“We kept them busy and put them under pressure,” Yakin told reporters. “It’s not only that we won today but how we won today.”

Asked whether he would prepare to face England or Slovakia in the quarterfinals, Yakin added: “We won an important game, and that’s what’s crucial — as for what happens tomorrow, what comes after that, we’ll prepare well again for our next opponent.”

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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