Group A of Euro 2020 ended this Sunday evening with the double confrontation at 6 p.m. On the one hand, Italy hosted Wales in Rome at the Stadio Olimpico while on the other hand, Switzerland faced Turkey at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan. Squadra Azzurra, first in their group and already assured of playing the round of 16, allowed themselves many changes in their starting XI: only Donnarumma, Bonucci and Jorginho were renewed from the match against Switzerland. Faced with Welsh well engaged in the race for qualification before kick-off (2nd in the group), Roberto Mancini started Tolói, Bastoni, Emerson, Pessina, Bernardeschi, Belotti, Chiesa and even counted on Verratti, back from injury barely.
In the first period, the Nazionale was dominant in the game with a high percentage of possession (65%). Without being very dangerous, the Italians, who were playing in an armchair, were quietly turning around in their camp while waiting to find an opening. It was not until the 37th minute and a marvel of mischief from Verratti on a free kick to see Italy open the scoring. Little Owl found Pessina who narrowly deflected the ball into Ward’s net. 1-0 for Squadra Azzurra. The 3rd goal in seven selections for the very offensive midfielder of Atalanta who opened his counter in this Euro. He was also very close to scoring a brace after Verratti had found him in the box but his attempt was missed. Things finally got carried away at the end of the first period until Ovidiu Alin Hațegan’s whistle. 1-0 at the break between Italy and Wales, who had only found the target once in 45 minutes for 0.09 xG. Big Italian domination in this first act despite the significant turnover.
On returning from the locker room, Mancini brought in Acerbi instead of Bonucci. Quickly, Bernardeschi found Ward’s post on a well-shot free kick, the strike of which bypassed the Welsh wall (52nd). First alert in this second act. In the 55th minute of play, Ampadu saw red after a big sole on Bernardeschi. The young Chelsea player (20), on loan at Sheffield United this season, left his teammates 10 against 11. In the 74th minute of play, Raspadori and Cristante replaced Jorginho and Bernardeschi respectively, while on the Welsh side Wilson came on at James’ place. At the very end of the match, Sirigu even participated in the party by replacing Donnarumma (89th). Finally the score stayed there. Victory for Squadra Azzurra on the smallest of margins but which allows Mancini’s players to secure first place and to achieve a flawless course in this group stage. 9 points and a match against the second in group C to come in the round of 16.
Realistic Switzerland destroys Turkey’s hopes
On the other hand, it was the game of badly embarked between Switzerland, 3rd with a point, and Turkey, last with 0 points whose qualification was very poorly started. Yet it is these funds that best started this meeting with a lot of involvement and desire. Senol Günes’ men quickly proved dangerous in front of goal with several shots on target in the first moments. Yet it was Switzerland who opened the scoring through Seferovic. Outside the area, the Nati striker armed a heavy strike from the left and deceived the Turkish goalkeeper (1-0, 13th). Cold snap in Baku. Switzerland will even take off in the 25th minute. From the entrance to the surface Shaqiri sent a missile into Çakır’s skylight (2-0). A real golazo released by the Liverpool winger who came and disgusted the Turks in the hard whose qualification was unimaginable at that time. Moments later, the Nati was on the verge of inflicting a correction as Shaqiri found himself again in front of Çakır but this time he missed his face-to-face.
Before halftime, on a solo express against, Müldur failed against Sommer in one-on-one. At the break, Switzerland was more realistic despite better possession on the Turkish side (53%) and as many shots on target (4). In the second half of the match, the Nati spared no efforts and obtained two important chances in two minutes through Embolo and Zuber (51st, 52nd). The Turks regained hope thanks to this goal from Kahveci who reduced the gap thanks to a nice roll that ended in the skylight (62nd). 2-1 for Switzerland who could be worried. Immediately after, Senol Günes tried everything for everything by making two changes at once: Yokuslu replaced Ayhan and Karaman entered in place of Tufan (64th). Finally Shaqiri came to disgust a feverish Turkey defensively.
The Reds forward took advantage of Zuber’s excellent cross to smash Çakır’s goals. 3-1 for the Nati (68th), doubled from Shaqiri, his first two goals in this Euro and his 6th goal in an international competition with Switzerland, a record. Zuber was also at the party with three assists today. The score could have been even more humiliating if Xhaka’s full-axis strike had not ended on the post (77th). And Slavko Vinčić put an end to this meeting. With this score and this victory, Switzerland finished third in their group with 4 points, but with a poorer goal difference than Wales, and could still hope to advance to the round of 16 by finishing best third. This is not the case with Turkey who therefore left the Euro by the back door with three defeats, 0 points, and a disappointing 4th place in terms of the quality of the group.
Find the Euro Group A ranking here