Switzerland will be hoping to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages when they face Turkey in the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A clash on Sunday.
The final round of the UEFA Euro 2020 group fixtures will be played out starting this weekend. And Switzerland and Turkey will be hoping to stay alive in the competition with a win when they lock horns with each other at the Baku Olympic Stadium on Sunday evening.
Switzerland, having entered the tournament on a six-game winning run, have struggled to carry that momentum forward. Indeed, La Nati have just one point from their two games so far, holding Wales to a draw in their opening fixture before falling to a 3-0 defeat to Italy. A big win, with Wales losing to Italy, would send Vladimir Petkovic’s men through, while a draw wouldn’t really help their chances of going through as a best third-placed team.
As for Turkey, they too came into the competition on the back of a six-game unbeaten run. But the Crescent and Stars have had a torrid beginning to the tournament, with back-to-back defeats against Italy and Wales relegating them to the bottom of the standings in Group A. A win here could, however, see them move above Switzerland and remain hopeful of going through the knockouts as one of the four best third-placed teams.
The last time Switzerland and Turkey clashed was in the UEFA Eur0 2008, with the latter winning 2-1. Ahead of this crucial encounter that will decide their fate in the tournament, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic does not have any fresh injury or fitness concerns heading into Sunday’s game. And despite the need for goals, he is unlikely to shift from the 3-4-1-2 formation that they have played with so far. There could at least be one personnel change, though, as La Nati look to bag a big win.
In goal, there is no looking past the seasoned campaigner, Yann Sommer, who will be shielded by the back three comprising of Nico Elvedi, Fabian Schar and Manuel Akanji, who will have to contend with his force and physicality of Burak Yilmaz. Out wide, Kevin Mbabu and Ricardo Rodriguez will line up as the wing-backs, with the onus of providing the width during attacks solely on them.
Remo Freuler and Granit Xhaka, who continues to be linked with an exit from Arsenal, ought to form the double pivot in the centre of the park, looking to keep things tight and deprive any spaces for the likes of Hakan Calhanoglu from where he can dictate play. Finally, the creative responsibilities will fall on the shoulders of Xherdan Shaqiri, who will line up in the hole behind the two strikers and look to pull the strings.
Up top, Breel Embolo is a certain starter and cause problems with his pace and directness. Partnering him, though, should be Mario Gavranovic, who will be replacing the misfiring Haris Seferovic on Sunday.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Sommer; Elvedi, Schar, Akankji; Mbabu, Freuler, Xhaka, Rodriguez; Shaqiri; Embolo, Gavranovic
Like Switzerland, Turkey, too, don’t have any major roster issues to contend with as they prepare to take the field at the Baku Olympic Stadium on Sunday evening. Umut Meras, though, could be a potential injury doubt after he had some discomfort prior to the Wales game, due to which he had to be subbed off in the second half.
It is unlikely that manager Senol Gunes will deviate from the 4-5-1 formation he has stuck by, but there could be a few personnel changes in Azerbaijan. Ugurcan Cakir is a certain starter between the sticks for the Crescent and Stars, with the goalkeeper set to be shielded by the centre-back duo of Merih Demiral and Caglar Soyuncu, with the former coming in for Kaan Ayhan.
With Meras a doubt, Mert Muldur could step in at left-back while LOSC Lille’s title-winning defender Zeki Celik continues on the right. He will, however, need to do a bit more at both ends of the pitch after underwhelming in the Euros so far.
The responsibility of shielding the backline and keeping a close watch on the lively Xherdan Shaqiri will likely fall on the shoulders of Okay Yokuslu, who will be supported by Ozan Tufan. There are other options like Irfan Can Kahveci and the versatile Kaan Ayhan, who could potentially get a look-in. Hakan Calhanoglu will occupy the third midfield slot and act as the chief chance-creator for Turkey.
Cengiz Under will add the verve and the threat in the final third from the right flank while Kenan Karaman could get another opportunity to come good on the left. However, he is likely to end up playing closer to star striker Burak Yilmaz more often than not.
Probable Lineup (4-5-1): Cakir; Celik, Demiral, Soyuncu, Muldur; Under, Tufan, Yokuslu, Calhanoglu, Karaman; Yilmaz
- Switzerland and Turkey have clashed 15 times in the past, with the former winning as many as eight of those fixtures while the latter have come out on top just four times (D3).
- Switzerland have managed to keep a single clean sheet in their last five matches.
- Turkey, meanwhile, have failed to score in three of their last four contests.
Player in Focus
Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)
Knowing that his team needs a win and with a big margin at that, this is going to be the time for Xherdan Shaqiri to step up and prove himself as Switzerland’s talisman. The Liverpool man hasn’t really stood out so far in the Euros, but for a team lacking in a creative presence, he has to carry the bulk of the chance-creating responsibility while also providing a goal-threat.
However, the good news for him is that the Turkish defence, renowned for their solidity during the qualifiers, have looked all at sea. And Shaqiri certainly has the quality and the ability to make the most of any lapses.
Hakan Calhanoglu (Turkey)
From Switzerland’s talisman to Turkey’s linchpin, Calhanoglu, too, hasn’t got up and running in the UEFA Euro 2020. Coming on the back of a fine season with AC Milan, a lot was expected of the playmaker, especially as the tournament would have been the ideal stage for him to put himself in the shop window and encourage suitors as his contract with the Rossoneri neared expiry.
However, that has not been the case as Calhanoglu has not been anywhere near his best, which in turn has meant that Turkey’s star striker Burak Yilmaz has been starved of chances. Time for the playmaker to step up and deliver if his side are to have any chance of staying alive in the Euros.
Switzerland 1-1 Turkey
Both teams are not exactly known for their attacking prowess. But given that they will be aware that nothing less than a win will do on Sunday, Switzerland and Turkey will push for goals. This could open up spaces at the back for either team’s attacks to exploit. However, considering the general lack of firepower within both the ranks, this contest could end in a scored draw, which isn’t going to help either side.