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Football: Italy beat Wales as both teams advance to Euro 2020 last 16

by Reuters21 June 2021 Last updated at 23:26 PM

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Group A - Switzerland v Turkey - Baku Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan - June 20, 2021 Turkey's Dorukhan Tokoz in action with Switzerland's Granit Xhaka, Ruben Vargas and Silvan Widmer. (Photo: Reuters)
Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Group A - Switzerland v Turkey - Baku Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan - June 20, 2021 Turkey's Dorukhan Tokoz in action with Switzerland's Granit Xhaka, Ruben Vargas and Silvan Widmer. (Photo: Reuters)

Italy finished top of their Euro 2020 group on Sunday (June 20) as Matteo Pessina’s first half goal helped a much-changed Azzurri side beat 10-man Wales 1-0 in Rome, while the visitors held on to second place despite the defeat.

The Italians had already guaranteed their progress from Group A, but they assured themselves of first place with victory, while Wales secured a last-16 berth too by finishing ahead of Switzerland on goal difference.

The Swiss, who could still advance as one of the four best third-placed teams, beat Turkey 3-1 in Baku.

Italy will face the runners-up of Group C next in London on June 26, while Wales will take on the runners-up of Group B on the same day in Amsterdam.

Roberto Mancini's side are now unbeaten in 30 games, equalling their all-time best run recorded from 1935 to 1939, and kept a clean sheet for an 11th consecutive match to underline their credentials as potential tournament winners.

Pessina volleyed the dominant hosts in front at a lively Stadio Olimpico after 39 minutes as they put in an impressive display despite Mancini replacing eight of the players who started in a 3-0 win over Switzerland on Wednesday.

Wales' task was made harder when defender Ethan Ampadu was sent off in the 56th minute for a stamp on Federico Bernardeschi's ankle minutes after the Italian winger's free-kick had struck the post.

Italy's relentless pressure continued as they pushed for a second, but Gareth Bale squandered a rare chance to earn Wales a draw when he volleyed over unmarked from 12 yards.

Switzerland beat Turkey 3-1 to keep Euro 2020 hopes alive

Switzerland face an anxious wait to see if they will make Euro 2020's last 16 after Xherdan Shaqiri's superb double helped them secure third place in Group A on Sunday with a 3-1 win over a dismal Turkey, who were sent packing after another defeat.

The Swiss, who finished level on four points with Wales but behind on goal difference, will hope to secure a spot in the knockout round as one of the four best third-placed finishers from the six groups.

Turkey, who finished fourth with three defeats, were tipped as pre-tournament dark horses but instead will head home after a hugely disappointing campaign that saw them lose all three games, conceding eight goals and scoring only once.

The game encapsulated Turkey's tournament, as they began full of fire and fury and started at a scintillating pace, only to collapse quickly as Switzerland outmanoeuvred them tactically to take an early lead.

The Swiss took the lead when Haris Seferovic received a pass from Steven Zuber on the edge of the area before rifling the ball into the bottom right corner in the sixth minute.

Exasperated, Turkey regrouped and tried again, only to go 2-0 down 20 minutes later when Zuber found Shaqiri in a similar position, and he curled an exquisite shot beyond the despairing dive of Ugurcan Cakir.

Turkey had their chances, but Swiss keeper Yann Sommer made a string of superb first-half saves as they searched for their first goal of the tournament.

Irfan Kahveci finally delivered it, salvaging some pride for the Turks in the 62nd minute with a spectacular strike from distance to reduce the deficit.

Whatever joy their thousands of supporters in the stands felt was short-lived as their shortcomings were shown up again six minutes later as Shaqiri fired home another Zuber pass to complete a surging counter-attack.

With Shaqiri withdrawn, Granit Xhaka hit a post with a powerful free kick as the Swiss continued to chase the goals that might have enabled them to take second spot, but to no avail.

With Burak Yilmaz was left isolated up front, the Turkish challenge fell away. All too often, they settled for wild shots from distance, but it was the defence that was the source of their problems.

Switzerland created 23 scoring opportunities, getting 10 of them on target, and Turkey never got to grips with the scheming Zuber as he set up all three goals.

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