Turkey 0-2 Wales: Goals from Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts put Wales on verge of Euro 2020 last 16

Report as Aaron Ramsey misses two fine chances to score before slotting home Gareth Bale’s superb pass three minutes before half-time; Bale later fires penalty over crossbar before Connor Roberts’ last-minute second; Wales on verge of reaching last 16 after victory

Digital Football Journalist
@Ronnabe

Wednesday 16 June 2021 19:30, UK

Goals from Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts gave Wales a 2-0 win over Turkey in Baku to put them on the verge of a Euro 2020 last-16 spot.

Ramsey, who had already missed two excellent chances to score, chested down and slotted home Bale’s sumptuous 20-yard diagonal ball to set Wales on the way to their first win of the tournament three minutes before half-time.

Bale would later win a penalty for a foul by Zeki Celik but would blaze the spot-kick over the bar, leaving Wales a nervous ending to the game until Roberts turned home Bale’s run from a short corner in the final seconds of second-half injury time to leave Wales’ fans in tears and their country on the brink of reaching the knock-out stages.

By adding a victory to their point earned against Switzerland on Saturday, Robert Page’s side are likely to reach the next round regardless of what happens against Italy in their final group game on Sunday, while even a win against Switzerland will probably not suffice for pointless Turkey.

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Player ratings

Turkey: Cakir (7), Celik (5), Ayhan (5), Soyuncu (6), Meras (6), Karaman (5), Calhanoglu (6), Yokuslu (5), Tufan (5), Under (5), Yilmaz (4).

Subs: Yazici (5), Demiral (6), Muldur (6), Dervisoglu (6), Kahveci (n/a).

Wales: Ward (7), C Roberts (7), Mepham (7), Rodon (8), B Davies (7), Allen (7), Morrell (6), Ramsey (8), James (8), Moore (6), Bale (8).

Subs: Ampadu (6), Wilson (n/a).

Man of the match: Gareth Bale

5 – Only France (6) have won more matches across EURO 2016 and EURO 2020 combined than Wales (5); Wales have the best winning percentage in European Championships history (63%, 5/8). Dragons. #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/6ZD9YVdVPp

Wales step it up to put one foot in knock-out stages

Wales were fully aware they would be facing essentially a home support but rose above the intimidating atmosphere in Baku and took the game to Turkey from the first whistle, with Dan James their central outlet for much of the first half.

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But the real moments of quality were supplied by Bale and Ramsey. Twice the latter was played through by his captain, first denied by the legs of Ugurcan Cakir, before skying a glorious chance after beating the offside trap with only the goalkeeper in his way.

It was third time lucky just before the break as the Juventus midfielder took Bale’s wonderful diagonal pass on his chest before slotting past Cakir with his second touch, to give Wales the lead they thoroughly deserved.

Turkey’s only moments of note had come from two corners in quick succession, both cleared off the line by Joe Morrell, and aerial balls remained their best source of optimism after the break in an otherwise familiarly disappointing performance.

Burak Yilmaz fired over from another flag kick 10 minutes into the second period but shortly after Cekir dangled a leg at Bale’s run and left referee Artur Dias pointing to the spot, only for the Real Madrid man to blaze comfortably over the bar from 12 yards.

Turkey’s aerial bombardment continued but Wales dealt with everything thrown at them, with Joe Rodon in particular a rock in their defensive unit.

The hosts’ frustration boiled over in added time when Yilmaz and Ben Davies squared up after Rodon was left on the floor in his own penalty area. Their annoyance only deepened as Roberts turned Bale’s run from a short corner home to seal victory in the final minute.

Wales are not mathematically guaranteed a last-16 spot but with third place at least guaranteed and four points likely to be enough to reach the threshold to qualify, Page’s team look likely to have already extended their European dream beyond Sunday’s Stadio Olimpico showdown with Italy.

Man of the match – Gareth Bale

Bale didn’t get on the scoresheet, despite Cekir trying his best to let him, but he did about everything else. Even with his penalty miss, the Real Madrid man showed again that you’ll rarely see him have a better game than for his country.

He could have had a hat-trick of assists by half-time but was let down by Ramsey’s finishing on two occasions, and made Roberts’ last-minute second when accepted wisdom suggested he should have been running towards the corner, rather than teeing up team-mates.

Opta facts

  • Since they first qualified for the European Championships in 1996, no side has suffered more defeats in the group stages of the competition than Turkey, with this evening’s loss their ninth at this stage (level with Russia).
  • Only world champions France (six) have celebrated more wins across Euro 2016 and 2020 than Wales, who have now won five of their eight matches in the competition, boasting the highest winning percentage of all sides to have played at any European Championships (63 per cent).
  • Wales remain unbeaten in their six matches across all competitions in Baku (W4 D2), keeping clean sheets in each victory.
  • Tonight’s match between Turkey (18) and Wales (16) produced 34 attempts on goal, the most in a Euro 2020 game so far.
  • Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey created four chances between themselves against Turkey, the most by a pair so far in any game at Euro 2020. The most in a game at Euro 2016 was six – also set by Bale and Ramsey (vs Russia).
  • Wales skipper Gareth Bale is the first player to miss the goal frame entirely with a penalty at the Euros since Raul for Spain against France at the 2000 tournament (excluding shootouts).
  • Aaron Ramsey’s strike was his 17th goal for Wales, moving one clear of Rob Earnshaw, Cliff Jones and Mark Hughes (all on 16), leaving just six other Welshman with more international goals to their name.
  • Following their goals this evening, Aaron Ramsey (17) and Gareth Bale (33) account for 50 of the 73 goals Wales’ current Euro 2020 squad have scored between them.

What’s next?

Wales travel to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to face Italy in their final group game on Sunday (kick-off at 5pm). Turkey face Switzerland in a must-win match in the Baku Olympic Stadium at the same time.

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