harry wilson, robert page, vladimir petkovic, yann sommer

PREVIEW: WALES VS SWITZERLAND, BOTH TEAMS LOOK TO BEGIN THEIR EURO JOURNEY IN THE BEST POSSIBLE MANNER

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The second match of the Euros will witness Wales take on Switzerland at Baku. This will also be the second match in Group A and will provide the best chance for each team to start with a win.

Wales have not had the best of preparation of late. Their head coach Ryan Giggs was removed from his post after his legal troubles, prompting Robert Page to take charge of the team. They also failed to win either of the two friendlies before the competition, losing 3-0 to France in their first one. Before an insipid 0-0 draw with minnows Albania where the odds were stacked in their favour.

 

 

Though they have a few star names and a good mixture of youth, it will be a major feat if they were able to replicate their heroics from the last edition. However, if they can find the goals and defend stoutly, this team is capable of springing one or two surprises.

 

 

Their opponents are on a much better run of form heading into the summer. They have won six of their last seven matches, and scored nine goals in their two warm-up matches. Vladimir Petkovic has been in charge since 2014, and has made the Swiss regular contenders on the international scene.

 

 

They have a host of top talent and even managed to finish fourth in the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League. If they do get off to a good start, and grab the early lead, they will put themselves in good contention for making it out of the group once again in major international tournament.

 

TEAM NEWS

Wales will look to put their best team forward in this opening clash and they have no injury issues to deal with at the moment.

 

 

WALES PROBABLE LINE-UP: Hennessey; Ampadu, Mepham, Rodon, Davies; Allen, Ramsey, Brooks; James, Roberts, Bale

 

Similarly to Wales, Petkovic’s side are at full strength and should be brimming with confidence following their 7-0 thumping of Liechtenstein.

 

SWITZERLAND PROBABLE LINE-UP: Sommer; Elvedi, Schar, Akanji; Mbabu, Xhaka, Freuler, Rodriguez; Shaqiri, Gavranovic, Seferovic

 

GAMECHANGERS

For Wales, it will be their talisman who will be central to all attacking play. Mostly deployed on the right wing, from where he can cut in and shoot. Bale racked up 20 goal contributions (16 goals, four assists) in 2019-20 with Spurs and has been slowly getting back to his best form. The man who unfurled “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order” upon qualification for the Euros will finally have his chance to perform at the biggest stage.

 

 

He will be especially dangerous when running directly down the opposition’s left flank. Given that Rodriguez is also a very experienced player, the Swiss will have his hands full. Petkovic will also have to make sure that Bale is not allowed space around the edge of the box, since he will be able to get by with his pace. The 31-year-old is the key and if he gets away, the Swiss will be in trouble.

 

 

Switzerland, for their part, have their own attacking hub amongst their ranks. Xherdan Shaqiri has been an impact substitute for Liverpool since joining, but there is no doubting his importance for the national team. Shaqiri has the talent to either play like an attacker in the front three or sit in behind to orchestrate play. His low centre of gravity allows him to get away from his markers quicker while he also possesses sublime passing.

 

 

This is important since Wales’ backline is not the most experienced in the game. Shaqiri will be able to lull the defenders into committing fouls and mistakes, which will help in creating chances. Furthermore, his crossing and ability to get shots off quickly will also test the goalkeeper who has to react in time to keep the diminutive Swiss under wraps.

 

CONCLUSION

Both teams are not the strongest contenders in the tournament, though they do have the chance to make it to the knockout rounds. FootTheBall predicts Wales 1-1 Switzerland.

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