1. The difference a crowd makes
It is fair to say that the game between Wales and Switzerland was a very timid affair and arguably much of that was down to the lack of supporters in the ground.
Whilst the scenes of the Welsh fans singing the national anthem proudly were fantastic, the small number that could make the trip to Azerbaijan was disappointing, although it is important to add it was not the fault of the supporters themselves.
However, with 32,000 in attendance this time around, over 90% being Turkish supporters, the atmosphere was hostile. Only 400 Welsh fans could again attend but they made their voices heard as much as possible.
Whilst small in number, to the players it would have felt as strong as scenes seen below.
2. Gareth Bale x Aaron Ramsey connection
It took a number of attempts which Ramsey missed but eventually the Juventus man was able to take a chance that Bale put on a plate for him.
In the first 20 minutes of the match, Bale put Ramsey through twice, the first a chance well saved by Cakir and then a second skied over the top.
Yet, pm the stroke of halftime, Bale had clearly not given up on his fellow talismanic figure in the Welsh group and chipped a ball through for the ex-Arsenal midfielder to chest down and finish in a composed fashion.
Wales will need more of the same if they hope to channel their 2016 tournament finish into 2021.
3. Back 4 preferences
Wales struggled a lot against the Switzerland backline which included 3 top-class centre backs flanked by another two quality wing-backs. Gareth Bale was doubled up on by Ricardo Rodriguez and Manuel Akanji and was unable to have too much of an impact on the game.
Equally, whilst James was more exciting on the left, both Kevin Mbabu and Nico Elvedi were able to quell his efforts to attack Yann Sommer’s goal.
However, Turkey’s back four, as expected from our preview of the game, opened up many more opportunities for Wales.
Bale was able to come inside with greater ease having just the single man to beat, while the centre-halves were both more concerned with Keiffer Moore’s presence.
4. Celik’s torment continues
After winning the league title in France with Lille, Zeki Celik was going into the European Championships on the back of a fantastic season.
However, after struggling with Lorenzo Insigne on the opening night of the tournament against Italy, Celik’s tournament continued to be a torment for the Lille man.
Daniel James had many strong runs successfully against Celik and he was at fault for the penalty which he would have, at the time, thanked his lucky stars that Bale skied the ball over Cakir’s net.
Turkey were well beaten and Celik will not have added any millions to his market value.
5. Turkey, the tournament’s most overrated side?
Turkey came into the tournament with a reputation as dark horses and with both Wales and Switzerland in their group many were suggesting that they could even progress alongside favourites Italy.
However it was evident from the first evening against the Azzurri that it was not going to be as people expected.
Turkey offered very little and Italy were able to sweep aside their opponents with little concern. Burak Yilmaz, likely taking part in his final international tournament, struck an isolated figure.
Whilst against Wales he was able to get into game a lot more, it became very evident that in addition to the Lille striker, Hakan Calhanoglu, Cengiz Under, Zeki Celik and Karaman were not enough to break down the defensive might of the Welsh.
Beyond them, the strength in depth just wasn’t there and ultimately Turkey will go down similar to how Austria fared in 2016.
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This article was edited by Ben Browning.
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