Switzerland v Turkey | Sunday 20th June 2021, 17:00 | ITV
Almost in the blink on an eye, we find ourselves very much at the business end of the Euro 2020 group stage. That is certainly the case in Group A, but Switzerland and Turkey are very much up against it, and are likely praying for the prospect of being one of the best third-placed teams in order to try and progress.
Switzerland’s largely disappointing record at the European Championship continued with defeat to Italy, albeit an expected setback. The 3-0 loss however was the first time under Head Coach Vladimir Petković, who has been in the job since just after the 2014 World Cup, that they’ve lost by a 3+ margin, and the press in Switzerland have been most disappointed with their performances against Italy and also Wales.
Big improvements are required, and history is probably against the Swiss. In their previous four appearances at a Euros, three times saw them fail to get out of the group. At Euro 2016 they actually enjoyed an unbeaten campaign inside 90-minutes, having gone undefeated in the group and only being knocked out by Poland on penalties, but that kind of sums this team up a bit.
Sure, they look like an organised side and can shut teams out, but when push comes to shove they just don’t have the weapons to cause enough problems against the better teams. Do Turkey fall into that category? Maybe not, so they have hope.
Turkey actually have the joint-best defensive record during qualification for this tournament alongside FIFA ranked number one nation Belgium, so to see Turkey with a -1 goal difference two games into their group phase may be somewhat of a surprise.
They looked to frustrate Italy in the first match, and they did that up until scoring an own goal, and then the floodgates opened. It was an improved showing over Wales, but the better chances definitely fell to the eventual winners, leaving Turkey both winless and goalless.
Not even having a massive supporter advantage in the stands seemed to have any real positive impact in the Wales game. They’ve now lost their last two games played in Baku. They need to go back to showing why many fancied Turkey as being a bit of a dark horse entering Euro 2020, the one which took four points off France in qualification.
Their star men haven’t shown up on the big stage as of yet. Captain and main goal threat Burak Yılmaz has lack end product, and seemingly lost his cool versus Wales, too. Hakan Çalhanoğlu hasn’t shown anything like he is capable of, whilst defensively the team as a collective has looked very shaky, and maybe now could be a time to bring Liverpool loanee Ozan Kabak into the backline.
Permutations of course must be discussed with this being the last game. The reality is that Turkey can no longer finish in the top two, so they must win and hope three points is enough to qualify as a third-placed team. A Turkish win would see Switzerland drop to last place and therefore elimination, so they know a win, combined with a Wales defeat to Italy, would see it come down to goal difference. Even so, a win is needed regardless, even if just to be a strong third-place team.
Plenty is on the line here, but with Switzerland having a more realistic chance of getting through you’d think they’d be properly up for this. I just fear Turkey’s heads have gone a bit and perhaps having a big crown swing won’t help them. But, on the flip side, I mentioned before about Switzerland’s limitations in attack and you just wonder where the goals are coming from.
Xherdan Shaqiri is seemingly on the decline or just massively lacking in confidence, he is still only 29 so he needs to pick himself up. Haris Seferović has been among the goals for Benfica this season, whilst Breel Embolo has never been a prolific type since moving to moving from Basel to the Bundesliga. They’re a hard-working team Switzerland, but not one which will necessarily put fear into their Turkish opponents.
Both teams really need the win, which in turn could lead to an open game. I don’t see that being the case in the first half however, especially with so much on the line and both understanding how costly conceding the first goal would be.
Half Time Draw at 7/5 (SBK) and also 15/13 (Sport Nation) on Second Half – Highest Scoring Half has to be two plays which instantly catch the eye, especially with both showing pretty severe offensive limitations in their opening group games.
It therefore could lead to a set piece being of pretty big importance and that opens the door to some potential bigger price goalscorers. Turkey looked especially dangerous on set pieces in the Wales game and had a couple of big opportunities from this route. I’ll chance Çağlar Söyüncü Anytime Goalscorer at 28/1 (Mansion Bet) for a little bit of a fun.
Switzerland v Turkey – Half Time Draw (7/5 SBK)
Switzerland v Turkey – Second Half – Highest Scoring Half (15/13 Sport Nation)
Switzerland v Turkey – Çağlar Söyüncü Anytime Goalscorer (28/1 Mansion)