Euro 2020 – Wednesday Recap

    Euro 2020 returned to the fold on Wednesday with an intriguing set of fixtures that saw Italy seal a place in the knock-outs stages.

    Another game in Group A delivered plenty of excitement as Turkey and Wales faced off in a must-win contest.

    Things have got complicated in Group B as Russia bounced back from a disappointing start against debutant Finland.

    Let’s take a look at what happened at Euros today.

    Finland 0-1 Russia

    Following a shocking 1-0 win over Denmark in their Group B curtain-raiser, Finland succumbed to a similar loss to Russia on Matchday 2.

    Things might have been different for the Huuhkajat if Joel Pohjanpalo’s strike in the fifth minute had not been ruled out for offside.

    Despite losing, it was a much better performance from Finland, who had a few decent half-chances and attempted 11 shots towards the opposition goal.

    However, the Russian claimed all-important three points following a dismal 3-0 defeat to Belgium in their tournament opener, courtesy of Aleksey Miranchuk’s brilliant goal on the stroke of half-time.

    Norwich City stalwart Temmu Pukki had two massive opportunities to pull one back for his side in the second half but failed to capitalize on any of them.

    Stanislav Cherchesov’s men have returned in contention for a top-two finish as they head to Copenhagen to meet Denmark in the section decider on Matchday 3.

    Meanwhile, Finland’s hopes of making it out of the group stage at their European Championships debut have suffered a devastating blow, knowing they will need to beat Belgium in the final group-phase fixture to secure a place in the knock-outs.

    Turkey 0-2 Wales

    It was ‘do or die’ for both Wales and Turkey at the Baku Olympic Stadium on Wednesday, with the Dragons running out 2-0 victors in a highly competitive affair.

    The action was back and forth throughout the entire 90 minutes, with both sides creating plenty of scoring chances on both ends.

    After squandering a couple of clear-cut chances early on, Aaron Ramsey broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute following a pinpoint lofted pass from Gareth Bale.

    Wales had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed midway through the second half.

    But Bale, who earned the spot-kick after Zeki Celik’s reckless challenge inside the 18-yard box, failed to convert the penalty, sending the ball well over the crossbar.

    Despite missing from the spot, the Real Madrid superstar reminded world football why Los Blancos made him the most expensive player on the planet in 2013.

    The left-footed forward put on a masterclass display this afternoon, continuously troubling the Turks with his bursting runs and clever through balls.

    Eventually, Bale’s efforts to catapult his team into the knock-outs paid off as he escaped several markers to set up Connor Robert in the dying moments of the match.

    Wales are now a step away from negotiating the group stage in their third appearance at major tournaments, while Turkey need a miracle to qualify for the knock-outs.

    Italy 3-0 Switzerland

    Though many have thought Italy cannot replicate their blistering showing against Turkey in their Group A opener, Gli Azzurri exceeded expectations again.

    Roberto Mancini’s side utterly outclassed Switzerland in the second round of the Euro 2020 group stage, claiming another overwhelming 3-0 triumph.

    Sought-after Sassuolo playmaker Manuel Locatelli kicked things off at the Stadio Olimpico in the 26-year-old, with his club teammate Domenico Berardi laying on an assist.

    Locatelli’s strike came just seven minutes after VAR ruled out Giorgio Chiellini’s goal for a handball.

    The Italians refused to slow down, with the attacking duo Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne looking sharp and determined.

    Italy failed to extend their lead in the first half, but Locatelli stole the show again seven minutes into the second period.

    The 23-year-old midfielder received the pass from Nicolo Barella on the edge of the 18-yard box and hammered home a powerful left-footed attempt to put his team two goals up.

    However, they were not done. Despite spurning a couple of decent chances to score his second of the tournament, Immobile managed to trouble the scoreboard.

    The Lazio talisman picked up a loose ball way outside the box and placed it out of Yann Sommer’s reach to make it 3-0 for the best-performing team at the Euros so far.

    With a victory over the Nati, Italy became the first team at Euro 2020 to reach the knock-out stage with a game to spare.

    On the other hand, Switzerland will need results to go their way on Matchday 3 as they come up against out-of-sorts Turkey.

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