Euro 2020: Switzerland beats Turkey 3-1 to keep hopes alive

Italy beat Wales 1-0 in the other group match after the Welsh were reduced to 10 men in the second half.

Shaqiri scored a brace, which helped the Swiss to comfortably beat Turkey 3-1.   -  REUTERS

Switzerland faces an anxious wait to see if it will make Euro 2020's last 16 after Xherdan Shaqiri's superb double helped it secure third place in Group A on Sunday with a 3-1 win over a dismal Turkey, which was sent packing after another defeat.

The Swiss, who finished level on four points with Wales but behind on goal difference, will hope to secure a spot in the knockout round as one of the four best third-placed finishers from the six groups.

READ - Euro 2020 HIGHLIGHTS Switzerland 3 Turkey 1

Turkey, which finished fourth with three defeats, was tipped as a pre-tournament dark horse but instead will head home after a hugely disappointing campaign that saw it lose all three games, conceding eight goals and scoring only once.

The game encapsulated Turkey's tournament, as it began full of fire and fury and started at a scintillating pace, only to collapse quickly as Switzerland outmanoeuvred it tactically to take an early lead.

The Swiss took the lead when Haris Seferovic received a pass from Steven Zuber on the edge of the area before rifling the ball into the bottom right corner in the sixth minute.

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Exasperated, Turkey regrouped and tried again, only to go 2-0 down 20 minutes later when Zuber found Shaqiri in a similar position, and he curled an exquisite shot beyond the despairing dive of Ugurcan Cakir.

Turkey had its chances, but Swiss keeper Yann Sommer made a string of superb first-half saves as it searched for its first goal of the tournament.

Irfan Kahveci finally delivered it, salvaging some pride for the Turks in the 62nd minute with a spectacular strike from distance to reduce the deficit.

Whatever joy its thousands of supporters in the stands felt was short-lived as its shortcomings were shown up again six minutes later as Shaqiri fired home another Zuber pass to complete a surging counter-attack.

 

With Shaqiri withdrawn, Granit Xhaka hit a post with a powerful free-kick as the Swiss continued to chase the goals that might have enabled it to take the second spot, but to no avail.

With Burak Yilmaz was left isolated upfront, the Turkish challenge fell away. All too often, it settled for wild shots from distance, but it was the defence that was the source of its problems.

Switzerland created 23 scoring opportunities, getting 10 of them on target, and Turkey never got to grips with the scheming Zuber as he set up all three goals.

"When the expectations are high, the disappointment is bigger ... I apologise to our nation. I trust my friends, we have learned a lot from this experience," defender Merih Demiral told Turkish TV.

The Swiss will now have to wait for the knockout picture to become clearer, but their industrious performance and Shaqiri's finishing bodes well for the next phase if they make it. "I think we played like a unit, and it was crucial today against this team. We knew if we play good we're going to create a lot of chances against this team, and we did so," Shaqiri told BEIN Sports.

Turkey coach blames many factors for 'unacceptable performance'

Turkey coach Senol Gunes blamed a number of factors for the "unacceptable performance" of his team at Euro 2020 but he is not planning to resign amid growing pressure back home.

"This young team will mark the next 10 years of Turkish football but we are well aware that such a performance at this tournaments is unacceptable," Gunes said.

"I am responsible for this," Gunes added, blaming the media response, his players' lack of experience, individual mistakes, and bad luck for the team's worst-ever performance at a European Championship.

The 69-year-old coach, who led Turkey to a stunning third-place finish at the 2002 World Cup, has been back at the helm since 2019.

"I do not think of resignation at the moment, the bill of failure has to be paid but media is also responsible, the management is also responsible, the coaching team is also responsible," Gunes said.

"Players and individual mistakes are also responsible. Before the tournament, we were expected to play the final, and now we are being criticised so harshly. It was a big test for us but sometimes these failures can add more experience than success," Gunes added.

Defender Merih Demiral agreed that the experience, though painful, contained important learning points.

"When the expectations are high, the disappointment is bigger. We will be attending other tournaments in the future and show what we are made of," he said.

"We are a young squad, we will have chances to make it up. I apologise to our nation. I trust my friends, we have learned a lot from this experience."

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