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.
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) June 9, 2021
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.
🇦🇿 Take a sneak peek behind the scenes at our #EURO2020 training base in Baku.
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) June 9, 2021
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.
— 🇨🇭 Nati (@nati_sfv_asf) June 8, 2021
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.
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.
📸 | 🏴0-0🇦🇱
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) June 5, 2021
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.
Unsere 26 für die EM
Nos 26 pour l’EURO
I nostri 26 per l’Europeo
🇨🇭🆚 🏴 (12.6, 15h00 CET)
🇨🇭🆚 🇮🇹 (16.6, 21h00 CET)
🇨🇭🆚 🇹🇷 (20.6, 18h00 CET)
— 🇨🇭 Nati (@nati_sfv_asf) May 31, 2021
SWITZERLAND PROBABLE LINE-UP: Sommer; Elvedi, Schar, Akanji; Mbabu, Xhaka, Freuler, Rodriguez; Shaqiri, Gavranovic, Seferovic
For Wales, it will be their talisman Gareth Bale 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.
Gareth Bale & Aaron Ramsey in Wales training 🏴 pic.twitter.com/9Iw0uJPFqW
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 4, 2021
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.
14 – Following his assist for Dan James’ winner, Gareth Bale has had a hand in 14 goals in his last 19 starts for Wales (7 goals, 7 assists), providing an assist in each of his last four appearances for the Dragons. Class. pic.twitter.com/4ZLGY5fe02
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 30, 2021
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.
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) June 1, 2021
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.
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.