euro cup -Turkey wants revenge
All countries have now entered into action at the European Championships and that means that the second round will start on Wednesday. Russia hopes to rebound against Finland for the loss to Belgium, Turkey await a showdown with Wales and Italy want to secure a place in the round of 16 against Switzerland.
3pm, Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg: Finland-Russia
Finland’s win over Denmark on Saturday was logically completely overshadowed by christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest. The Finns surprisingly won the game with Denmark later in the evening and are in surprisingly good position ahead of the round of 16.
Reaching the knockout stage would be a stunt, as Finland enters a final tournament for the first time in history. With goalkeeper Lukás Hrádecky (Bayer Leverkusen) and Glen Kamara (Rangers), the Finns have only two players in the squad who played in the group stage of a European club tournament last season.
Russia’s 3-0 defeat to Belgium will help prevent it from getting stranded in the group stage as it did in 2012 and 2016. The best result of Russia at the European Championships dates back to 2008, when the team of then national coach Guus Hiddink reached the semi-finals. The Dutch team was then eliminated in the quarterfinals after extra time.
Facts about the game: The match is led by referee Danny Makkelie. It is the second time this tournament that the Dutchman has been allowed to whistle a match, as he also had the honour of managing the opening game between Italy and Turkey last Friday.
Player to keep an eye on: In the search for goals, Finnish hopes are pinned on Teemu Pukki. In the European Championship qualifying series, the veteran striker was responsible for ten of Finland’s 16 goals. Pukki was also on a roll for Championship club Norwich City last season with 26 goals.
6pm: Olympic stadium in Baku: Turkey-Wales
In the run-up to the opening game of the European Championship against Italy, Turkish national coach Senol Günes said he would like to see the Italians back in the final, but the ambitious Turkey were put on the ground by the 3-0 defeat at Stadio Olimpico.
The Turks gave up as many goals against Italy as they did in the entire European Championship qualifier (3). A win over Wales seems crucial for Turkey, who were unbeaten for six games in a row in the run-up to the European Championship and impressed in March by beating the Dutch 4-2 in world cup qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
Wales would already be happy with a place in the knockout stages, but the historic 2016 European Championship means expectations are higher than usual. The British finished first in a group with England, Slovakia and Russia five years ago as European Championship debutants and even reached the semi-finals, in which the later champion Portugal were too strong.
Facts about the game: Based on the previous meeting between Turkey and Wales, the fans can secretly hope for a goal celebration. In the summer of 1997, Turkey beat Wales 6-4 in a 1998 World Cup qualifier thanks in part to four goals from Hakan Sükür.
Player to keep an eye on: In Wales, all hope is focused on star player Gareth Bale– who, despite a few lesser years, still has to make a difference for his country. The Real Madrid striker is wearing the captain’s armband for Wales for the first time at a final tournament, calling it “one of the highlights of his career.” (euro cup)
9pm: Stadio Olimpico in Rome: Italy-Switzerland
Italy were already declared title contenders for the European Championship and coach Roberto Mancini’s team confirmed that status in the opening game. ‘La Squadra Azzurra’ recorded its ninth win against Turkey without a goal in a row and is now unbeaten for 28 consecutive games.
Switzerland must come from good homes to inflict their first defeat since 10 September 2018 on neighbouring Italy. The Swiss has competed in the European Championship four times before and reached the knockout stage only once: in 2016, the round of 16 were also the final station.
Facts about the game: Switzerland’s squad includes five players who have played in the Italian league. Coach Vladimir Petkovic coached Lazio between 2012 and 2014 and will return to Stadio Olimpico.
Player to keep an eye on: After the friendly game with Spain on 3 June 2018, star player Granit Xhaka did not miss a game with Switzerland. The 28-year-old captain hopes to score again soon, as his last goal for Switzerland dates back to 18 November 2019.
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