Wales vs Switzerland: What lies ahead at Baku Olympic Stadium
December 6, 2021
Sport

Wales vs Switzerland: What lies ahead at Baku Olympic Stadium

As Wales takes on Switzerland on July 12, at 2 pm (BST), at Baku Olympic Stadium (Azerbaijan), here is a sneak peek into what ardent football fans can look forward to.

Wales made an impressive debut in 2016, and steered clear of all hassles put forth by each team that came in the form of an opponent, until their efforts were marred by a more worthy Portugal, who emerged title winners eventually. Their journey, however, was not bereft of tumultuous waves in 2018, but surpassed all odds in 2019, against Croatia, by finishing second in the qualifying group.

They saw good opportunities come their way in 2020, as they tasted victory five times from eight matches, with two draws and losing out to England. It wasn’t a nice start for the players of Wales in 2021 after losing to Belgium in a 3-1, but they bounced back by winning games against Mexico and Czech Republic.

They continued to be undefeated by teams outside top five in FIFA ranking from 2020. Taking into account a total of 13 games, France, England and Belgium are the only teams, which won against them.

On the other hand, Switzerland was seen sashaying to finish on top of their group leaving Denmark behind. This will be fifth time the country will be appearing in the competition. The year 2016 saw Switzerland making their way out of the group phase, however, were shown the exit door, after a confrontation with Portugal in the penalties. The team then made it to round 16 at World Cup 2018 before being defeated by Sweden.

Out of the four encounters between Switzerland and Wales, the former has won three in recent times. It was during the latest one that Welsh won with a 2-0, in the qualifying campaign for Euro in 2011. In all three times, the common score was 2-0.

Switzerland marked victory in their last six games and most against USA and Liechtenstein. It has to be noted that none of them were strong opponents, the only one being a 3-0 win against Ukraine in 2020.

Even after being qualified for Euros in 2019, they suffered defeat in seven games in 2020. The silver lining amid all this was holding Germany to draw twice and Spain.

There are a few months that football fans can look out for, Welsh centre-back Joe Rodon and Swiss Haris Seferovic being a strong pick for mighty face-offs.

While at the age of 23, Rodon has already garnered attention within the game, with an impressive performance in his debut campaign and carving a niche for himself at International level.

Rodon has literally put his best foot forward, opposite extraordinary footballers such as  Jack Grealish, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.

Seferovic, the physical centre forward has scored 22 league goals, lending a further seven assists. He has had an integral role to play in his team.

Wales’ Ethan Ampadu might only be 20 years old, but never has there been a dull moment of being inept and lacking in experience. He will be standing tall opposite Switzerland skipper Granit Xhaka, against whom not many players competing in EURO 2020 have more experience. Xhaka has played over 550 games of professional football until date.

Welsh midfielder Joe Allen and Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri spent time together at the Bet 365 Stadium for two years. However, the latter moved to Liverpool, following which he went onto achieve the Champions League and Premier League title.

Allen after banking his skills on Staffordshire, appeared 18 times in the Championship last season. However, he saw his participation restricted because of continuous injury knockbacks.

It cannot be denied that Shaqiri and Allen both know all about each other, when it comes to the game.

The Wales squad is replete with young talents such as midfielder Ethan Ampadu and right back Neco Williams, and winger Gareth Bale is hoping to get some leverage out of that, Robert Page is the interim coach for Euro 2020 while coach Ryan Giggs is under trial from January on allegations of assault on two women.

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