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Euro 2020 matchday two: Wales begin Group A campaign against Switzerland in Baku

By June 12, 2021No Comments

Wales head into their European Championship opener against Switzerland seeking to emulate their remarkable run to the semi-finals of five years ago.

Influential midfielder Aaron Ramsey has been passed fit for the Group A game in Baku, giving caretaker boss Rob Page a full squad to select from.

Juventus man Ramsey is one of just eight players remaining from the 23-man contingent who excelled at Euro 2016 in France under Chris Coleman before losing to eventual winners Portugal in the last four.

The Welsh and the Swiss will each look to move level on points with early group pacesetters Italy, who emphatically beat Turkey 3-0 in Friday evening’s tournament opener.

Group B also kicks off on Saturday, with Denmark hosting Finland in Copenhagen, before much-fancied Belgium take on Russia in St Petersburg.

Tweet of the day

Former Arsenal man Ramsey has given Wales a fitness boost ahead of their clash with Switzerland in Azerbaijan.

Snap shot

Euro 2020 matchday two: Wales begin Group A campaign against Switzerland in Baku PLZ Soccer
Italy’s Domenico Berardi (left) and Manuel Locatelli celebrate after Turkey’s Merih Demiral diverted the ball into his own net for the opening goal of Euro 2020 (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Quote of the day

Page has been at the helm since November, with manager Giggs on leave to address court charges, which he denies.

Shades of Italia 90

Italy lit up the opening night of the rescheduled Euros by brushing aside Turkey in Rome. The dominant display was the first major tournament fixture played on Italian soil since the 1990 World Cup. For many football fans, the sound of the late Luciano Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma was among the most unforgettable moments of that competition. Fellow Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli brought memories flooding back with his own stirring rendition as fireworks lit up the sky during the opening ceremony at Stadio Olimpico.

Stat attack

Euro 2020 matchday two: Wales begin Group A campaign against Switzerland in Baku PLZ Soccer
Turkey manager Senol Gunes was left with plenty to ponder (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Turkey – managed by Senol Gunes, who guided them to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup – conceded as many goals on Friday evening as they did in their 10 Euro 2020 qualifiers combined.

Moment of magic

Lorenzo Insigne capped a fine night for Robert Mancini’s men. His composed curling effort added to Merih Demiral’s own goal and an instinctive finish from Ciro Immobile as Italy scored three times in a European Championship match for the first time at the 39th time of asking, extending their impressive unbeaten run to 28 games in the process. Turkey have lost their opening match at every major tournament – Euros and World Cup – seven games in total.

Up next?

June 12:
Wales v Switzerland (Group A, Baku, 14.00)
Denmark v Finland (Group B, Copenhagen, 17.00)
Belgium v Russia (Group B, St Petersburg, 20.00)