A Xherdan Shaqiri brace kept Switzerland’s ambitions of a knockout stage appearance alive and kicking at Euro 2020, sealing a 3-1 win in Baku to condemn Turkey to a Group A exit.
The Liverpool midfielder’s double helped ensure that Vladimir Petkovic’s side finished their Group A campaign on a high note and keep themselves in contention for a last-16 berth.
Even though Switzerland will be forced to sweat on their tournament future until midweek, Shaqiri’s efforts keep them very much in contention – and the veteran mainstay was quick to hail an improved performance all round from his team-mates in victory.
What has been said?
“I think we played like a unit, and it was crucial today against this team,” Shaqiri told beIN Sports after the full-time whistle. “We knew if we play good we’re going to create a lot of chances against this team, and we did so.
“We’re very pleased with the win today and very happy. The other team, they have qualities, they can score any time.
“We could have scored maybe one or two goals more, for sure, but at the end of the day, it was important to win the game and we did that.”
Shaqiri delighted with double
After Haris Seferovic had opened the scoring six minutes in, Shaqiri netted one of the goals of the tournament with a curled shot from outside the box, before restoring the two-goal lead after Irfan Kahveci’s response with a breakaway finish.
The 29-year-old was delighted to contribute to the victory, particularly with his earlier effort, adding: “[I’m pleased] especially the first one with my right foot, it was really good technique.
“I’m very happy and very pleased that I could help the team with my two goals and that we reacted after the defeat against Italy, it was very good today. I’m very pleased for the performance of the team.
Gunes left to rue Italian hangover
For Turkey, it marked their third consecutive defeat at Euro 2020, ensuring that they became the second side to exit the competition in the wake of North Macedonia, with no points to their name to boot.
Manager Senol Gunes acknowledged that his side failed to live up to the quality they possess throughout an event they were tipped to enter as potential dark horses, adding that an opening-day blowout defeat to Italy haunted his side across their run.
“We weren’t good enough throughout the tournament,” he told uefa.com. “The first match had such a negative effect on my players. That can happen.
“But those players will play for Turkey for many years and they will succeed like they have before.”
The bigger picture
Switzerland’s victory was not enough to overturn an inferior goal difference against Wales, who were defeated by Italy in Rome elsewhere in Group A, meaning that Rob Page’s side were the team to join Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri in automatically qualifying for the last 16.
The nature of Euro 2020’s third-place ranking system also means that, while Switzerland face a wait to see if they will qualify through virtue of being one of the four best-ranked sides left in the competition, they will also not know any potential opponent until Wednesday too.
Turkey, meanwhile, will return home, ahead of an autumn of Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers, seeking their first appearance since South Korea/Japan 2002, where they unexpectedly finished third.