Capello: “Switzerland are organized but vulnerable on the left, that’s why it’s Chiesa’s match”


Fabio Capello believes Switzerland will be weak on their left flank when they face Italy later today, which is why Federico Chiesa must start: “Chiesa has everything to put opponents in difficulty in one-on-one situations.” Capello was writing in his column for La Gazzetta dello Sport, and analysed the Azzurri’s upcoming EURO 2024 match with Switzerland:

The National team will need to bring the effectiveness shown against Albania and the determination from the end of the Croatia match. We celebrated Zaccagni’s magic, we saw France and Belgium slip to the other side of the bracket, we told ourselves we got doubly lucky. Okay, all true, but it’s time to put the ifs and buts in a drawer and clear our minds. Now all that matters is beating Switzerland, and let’s get this straight: it won’t be easy at all.

The dangers:

I’ve seen them play live, and I’m convinced that underestimating Yakin’s men would be a very dangerous mistake. Switzerland has everything it takes to give us trouble, starting with their attitude on the field: a compact, solid, humble team that plays simply. And if there’s one thing that’s been quickly understood in this European Championship, it’s that those who do simple things get results. Our opponents don’t have cover stars, but they’re well-equipped in all departments: Freuler and Xhaka are a well-matched, complete midfield pair that make the whole team tick. The way these two play on the field is the manifesto of all of Switzerland: always energetic and willing to sacrifice, they help each other and play as a team. Up front, Ndoye and Embolo guarantee movement and unpredictability: facing them isn’t easy for anyone because they don’t give reference points. Akanji is the leader of the defense, commanding the department and ensuring great solidity, Sommer completes the picture: we know him well, he’s a goalkeeper with personality, very attentive between the posts and has experience to spare.

How we should fit together:

However, an organized Italy, no longer weighed down by the ghosts that paralyzed it for much of the match against Croatia, has what it takes to overcome Switzerland, reach the quarter-finals, and look to the future with optimism. We’ll need to be different, there’s no doubt about that. What kind of Italy will be needed? I’d say a National team that fits together: the concreteness and ability to create chances seen for 70 minutes in the opening match against Albania, the desire and character that emerged after Modric’s goal on the night in Leipzig. It’s as if that goal had lit a flame: the Azzurri fire burned more and more, until the beautiful action in which Calafiori dressed as a finisher and Zaccagni drew that rainbow that changed our destiny. I hope that flame has stayed alive and will accompany us today in Berlin too. It’s a magical city for the history of the National team, with the right attitude we can renew the “tradition” this time too.

Chiesa in command:

Spalletti will have to deal with Dimarco’s absence, which will weigh heavily: you know how I feel about Federico, when he advances on the wing something interesting can always happen. You also know what I think about the other Federico, the one who has already won a European Championship and who, three years ago, began scoring in the round of 16, with a very important goal against Austria: if we want to strike and sink Switzerland, Chiesa is our sine qua non. He must bite into the game from the start, and do it with his weapons: dribbling, bursts of speed, courage. His entry into the field against Croatia changed the face of our game, this time Fede can and must be decisive playing from the beginning. Also because I believe that the left flank is the most vulnerable part of Switzerland: Chiesa has everything to put opponents in difficulty in one-on-one situations and disrupt the organization of Yakin’s team.


More than individuals, however, team spirit will count, and on this ground, on the right days, we have few rivals: when the National team comes together, there are no impossible obstacles to overcome. Our history says so. This is where we must begin to write another novel-like page this afternoon at the Olympiastadion. United on the field, free in the mind: since Spalletti’s Italy set foot in Germany, I’ve had the impression that, during matches, the Azzurri are too worried about respecting the coach’s tactical instructions. The result is a team that’s not very practical because it thinks too much. That same team, however, has shown that it knows how to free ideas, aggression, and the desire to dare on the field. And when that happens, it becomes difficult to contain: Modric and company know something about it. So, dear Azzurri, be free to dare today too. With courage, you go far.”


Serie A obsessive.