Euro 2024: Akanji hopeful Switzerland can reach final after ousting Italy

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Manuel Akanji is hopeful Switzerland can reach the Euro 2024 final after their 2-0 win over defending champions Italy in the round of 16 on Saturday.

The Azzurri were considered obvious favourites for the tie but the Red Crosses came through as underdogs with Akanji at the heart of it in keeping them at bay.

Switzerland remain unbeaten at Euro 2024 and the Manchester City defender, of Nigerian heritage, wants the team to take it up a notch in neighbouring Germany

“I hope so but we still got some games in front of us. And, yeah, it might look easier on this side, but I mean, if England wins and the Netherlands win their two games, it’s still the teams that we play (are) still Italy, England and Netherlands. So it’s not that easy as it looks. But yeah, we’ll see what happens,” Akanji said when asked if Switzerland can reach the final.

He added: “…I hope we play England, because I got a lot of friends there and, their talk is a little bit small sometimes, so not all of them, but some of them. So I hope we’re going to play against them and I hope we’re going to win. ”

Swiss coach Murat Yakin is also hopeful his team can maintain their form after demonstrating their prowess against European heavyweights.

“There are only good sides at the Euro. We went unbeaten in the group stage and we played well, and of course that gave us an injection of positivity ahead of the Germany game. Because we showed we can go toe-to-toe with big teams like that, we did that again [against Italy],” he said.

“If it’s England, one step at a time, we will prepare. We’ll have our chance against England but the same goes to Slovakia. But we will focus on ourselves. We don’t want to be distracted by our potential opponents.

“And once again I think we have sent out an important signal, a message about how we can play; we didn’t just club together and defend as a unit and sat back. In fact, we showed that we can attack and dominate the game…And I hope that continues.”

Switzerland have made it to Euros quarter-finals for only the second time in their history having done so at the previous edition three years ago but lost to Spain on penalties in Saint Petersburg.

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