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Luciano Spalletti: Defending Euro champions Italy must 'do more' against Switzerland

Title holders Italy will need to change gear against Switzerland in the Euro 2024 last 16 on Saturday, according to head coach Luciano Spalletti.

The defending champions stuttered through the group stage but reached the knockouts in dramatic fashion when Mattia Zaccagni's stoppage-time equaliser against Croatia salvaged a draw and ensured the Italians finished runners-up to Spain in Group B.

Spalletti, who has developed a reputation for his outbursts in Germany, was calmer as he confirmed Federico Dimarco has been ruled out of the contest at Olympiastadion Berlin, where Italy lifted the World Cup after a penalty shootout with France in 2006.

He told a press conference: "We have to do more than we have done so far [to make the Italian people proud]. The draw put us in a tough group and the players struggled with that.

"Now I expect to see the players a little more relaxed because it's a knockout match. There are no permutations; the time is now. We can only make it to the next round if we win this game."

Centre-back Riccardo Calafiori will be serving a one-game suspension after picking up two yellow cards in the group stage and is set to be replaced by Gianluca Mancini, with Spalletti saying the Roma defender "has the right experience for games like this."

Fellow defender Alessandro Bastoni, meanwhile, faces a late fitness test after recovering from an illness.

Switzerland boss Murat Yakin has no fresh fitness concerns ahead of Saturday's clash, though defender Silvan Widmer is also serving a suspension for his two group stage bookings.

Yakin confirmed there would likely be some other changes to his line-up, and revealed his side were regularly taking penalties in training - with five of their last six meetings with neighbours Italy ending in draws.

He said: "We're in the hunt this year, and we've shown that many times against strong opposition.

"We've prepared very well against the three teams that we knew we'd play in the group stage, we prepared well for those matches, we've produced some good performances, and we have had time to prepare for those three games.

"But we've also had a full week of training for the Italy game, everyone is available for selection, there's an excellent mood in the camp, and we have a really full heart to make it as far as we can.

"It's a fresh chapter in this rivalry between Italy and Switzerland, and I'll be delighted to be able to share that with the fans who will be cheering us on tomorrow."

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