After a heroic run to the semi-finals in 2016, Wales return to the European Championships hoping to upset the odds again. They will have their work cut out in a group consisting of Turkey (29th) and Italy (7th). However, Wales, ranked 17th themselves, will be keen to prove their doubters wrong having been written off in the build-up to this tournament. Switzerland meanwhile, travel to the neutral venue of Baku hoping to make it back into the knockout stages of the tournament after a disappointing exit on penalties to Poland in 2016. The Swiss finished second in their group behind France that year and a run of six consecutive wins heading into this rendition leaves them in a brilliant position to compete once again. From the off, it looks like these two teams could be vying for 3rd in their group in an attempt to progress to the knockout round so three points here for either side is vital.
Wales looked sluggish in their 0-0 draw with Albania in a friendly last Saturday but they were holding their own against World Champions France a few days earlier before Neco Williams was sent off and they were ultimately beaten 3-0. They have now won just two of their last five matches and each of their last two games away from home have ended in defeat. The Dragons have won just one of their last five matches on the road and that win came in Bulgaria (71st) back in October 2020.
As for Switzerland a morale-boosting 7-0 victory over Liechtenstein was their sixth in succession and will leave Vladimir Petkovic’s side beaming with confidence heading into their opening match with Wales. Switzerland won both their opening qualifiers for the World Cup back in March and continued their winning run with wins over the USA and Liechtenstein over the past 10 days to extend their winning run to six matches, although just one of those victories came on the road. In fact, Switzerland have won just two of their last nine games away from home, which may give Wales hope, although they did play away at the likes of Belgium, Germany, Spain, and Portugal during that period.