Euro 2020: How Teams Are Shaping Up!!!

Plus: Switzerland is made to wait for their last-16 place after a third-place finish in Group A, but Xherdan Shaqiri and others could be tricky customers in the knockout stages if they qualify.

Switzerland hit the crossbar and Andrea Belotti pushed Danny Ward into making an important save after Gareth Bale had rocketed his unmarked volley over the bar.

The Wales captain looked sure to snatch a draw in Rome for his 10-man team when the ball fell graciously for a left-foot strike. But, like with his penalty miss against Turkey, he got it poorly wrong. It could have been a costly mistake.

But that Swiss miss and Ward’s quick stop hindered Wales from surrendering their goal difference advantage and they fought hard in the heat to guarantee a second-place finish in Group A – and a Saturday night in Amsterdam.

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The party there will not be entirely what it could have been, given the travel limitations Welsh fans are facing, but, wherever they are watching, they can now start to plan a route through this competition that would imitate the class of 2016.

Russia or Denmark are the likely last-16 opponents unless Finland can get a result from Belgium, and then it would be back to Baku to potentially face the Netherlands. That city was a cheerful hunting ground for Rob Page’s players in the group stage – and Wembley, the semi-finals, and the opportunity to compare to the legends of Euro 2016 will be beckoning by then. It’s not unthinkable.

But while Wales has shown in this tournament they have a strong aiding cast – stronger than 2016? – they need their talisman to step forward this weekend. Bale has shown moments of brilliance, especially with his assists against Turkey, but his country needs him to be near-perfect in the knockouts to realize the dream. It’s a challenge he will relish.


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