Gareth Bale's missed penalty did not prevent Wales from recording their first win in Euro 2020, as they scored a goal in each half.
Wales have finally clinched their first win of the Euro 2020 campaign with a spirited display against a quality Turkish side. The Welsh team scored a goal in each half through Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts to win 2-0 in their second game at Euro 2020. In the second half, skipper Gareth Bale blazed a penalty over the crossbar, but it did not prevent them from registering their first win of the tournament. It was their excellent defensive shape that helped them see out the game as Turkey had the majority of the possession.
On 43 minutes, as halftime approached, Ramsey controlled a delightful pass from Bale and tucked the ball home from close range. After the break, Bale then squandered a golden opportunity to double the lead by lifting a penalty well over the crossbar. In a tense finish, Roberts scored deep into injury time to secure three points for the Welsh side. For the time being, Wales are on top of Group A with four points. However, Italy can regain the top spot with a win against Switzerland later in the day.
Wales had started the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Switzerland in their opening match of Euro 2020. They secured one point from that draw and they have now added three more to the tally. With four points from two games, the Welsh team have a good chance of progressing from the group. It’s no longer only the top two countries from a group that can qualify, but also four of the best third-placed teams have a chance to reach the knockout stages.
Wales were significantly more aggressive than they were in their opening draw against Switzerland. They could have won by a bigger margin if they had been clinical in front of goals. On the other hand, the Turkish team is in big trouble, having lost their first two matches. Nonetheless, they were strongly supported by the crowd in the Azerbaijan capital.
Speaking after the match, Wales skipper Bale praised the fans and said the boisterous atmosphere helped his team. “The fans were fantastic,” he told the BBC. “Most of them were Turkish, but the Welsh fans were incredible as well. They made it loud and they made us keep going.”
After the pivotal victory, Bale confessed that they are in a “great position” in Group A. With just one more match left in the group, the Welsh team is sitting in a comfortable position to make it out of the group. When asked if progress to the knockout stages now felt assured, Bale replied, “You’d like to think so, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens. If you’d offered us four points [from two games] at the start, we’d’ve bitten your hand off. It’s an important victory that puts us in a great position.”
When Wales reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016, they were one of the biggest surprises of the tournament. They are on their way to producing another massive run five years later. Wales will face group favourites Italy next, but they will be hoping that qualifying from the group is all but assured by then.