TURKEY 0-2 WALES
- Goals: Aaron Ramsey (€8.5m), Connor Roberts (€4.5m)
- Assists: Gareth Bale (€9.5m) x2
It was a mixed performance for Gareth Bale (€9.5m) as he inspired a 2-0 win for Wales in their second group-stage match at EURO 2020.
The premium midfielder lived up to his price with two assists although a missed penalty and a meeting with Italy’s imperious defence in Matchday 3 is unlikely to put off mass investment.
Wales goalscorer Aaron Ramsey (€8.5m) had a big chance early on in this match but shot straight at Ugurcan Cakir (€4.5m), having opted to turn a defender rather than square for Kieffer Moore (€6.5m).
Burak Yilmaz (€8.0m) then went close at the other end as Turkey broke on Wales. A Chris Mepham (€4.5m) block proved crucial to denying the Crescent Stars’ captain.
Ramsey got on the end of another big opportunity after 23 minutes, firing well over after being found by an excellent Bale pass.
Turkey then saw two off-target headers nodded away from goal by Wales midfielder Joe Morrell (€5.0m) during a succession of corners.
The Bale-Ramsey combination eventually paid dividends for Wales after 42 minutes, with the Real Madrid man sending a superb pass over the Turkey defence to find another great run from the Juventus midfielder.
Ramsey took Bale’s long pass down on his chest before sidefooting the ball into the corner of the Turkey net.
Yilmaz missed a gilt-edged opportunity of his own after 53 minutes, firing a volley over from six yards out while unmarked.
Bale then let Turkey off the chopping block, having won a penalty for a foul by Zeki Celik (€4.5m) just on the edge of the Crescent Stars’ box.
Bale stepped up but ballooned his effort way over Cakir’s crossbar, in an effort more reminiscent of a rugby conversion.
Ramsey eventually turned provider for Bale with a dinked cross inside the box but the Wales talisman could only head straight at Cakir.
“When you have quality like Dan James, Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale, Kieffer Moore, you are always going to cause teams problems. We want to go into every game to win. We will have to be mindful of Italy but we will pick a team that can go and compete.” – Interim Wales boss Rob Page
And it was Bale’s magic that sealed the three points for the Dragons during injury time. The midfielder twice conned Turkey into thinking he was time wasting, only to skin a defender and make his way into the box.
Bale shot himself the first time, winning a second corner. On that occasion, he danced into the area before teeing up Connor Roberts (€4.5m) for a first-time finish.
“The penalty miss was obviously disappointing but that’s where my character and fight comes in. I kept going and made up for it with the two assists.” – Gareth Bale
Turkey XI: Cakir; Meras (Mulder 72′), Soyuncu, Ayhan, Celik; Calhanoglu, Yokuslu (Demiral 46′), Tufan (Yazici 46′); Under (Kahveci 82′), Yilmaz, Karaman.
Wales XI: Ward; B Davies, Rodon, Mepham, Roberts; Allen (Ampadu 72′), Morrell; D James (N Williams 90+3′), Ramsey (Wilson 83′), Bale; Moore.
ITALY 3-0 SWITZERLAND
Locatelli bags his and Italy’s second
- Goals: Manuel Locatelli (€5.5m) x2, Ciro Immobile (€10.0m)
- Assists: Domenico Berardi (€6.0m), Nicolo Barella (€7.0m), Rafael Toloi (€4.5m)
Italy’s defence continues to reward Fantasy managers as they recorded a second clean sheet of EURO 2020 and their tenth in as many internationals.
However, whether the Gianluigi Donnarumma (€5.5m) and his colleagues can offer the same Fantasy potential in Matchday 3 remains to be seen considering Italy have now secured passage to the second round – which could trigger rotation against Wales.
Ciro Immobile (€10.0m) may be hoping he can avoid any changes in personnel as he scored his second goal of the tournament against Switzerland and is sure to have one thought on a possible Golden Boot, given how far the Azzurri could go at EURO 2020.
But he now shares the mantle of top goal-scorer among his colleagues with budget midfielder Manuel Locatelli (€5.5m), who netted twice on Wednesday evening.
Giorgio Chiellini (€6.0m) headed Italy in front after 19 minutes but was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball before lashing home.
Seven minutes later, Locatelli started and finished a sumptuous move to put the Azzurri ahead.
The midfielder hit a sweet volleyed pass out to the right flank, finding Domenico Berardi (€6.0m). The winger made his way into the box before squaring for the onrushing Locatelli to sweep past Yann Sommer (€5.0m).
Leonardo Spinazzola (€5.5m) put in two crosses and had one shot inside the box in an all-action display from left-back in the first half.
Locatelli added an outside-the-box goal on 52 minutes, giving Sommer no chance with a super strike after being teed up by Nicolo Barella (€7.0m).
Immobile put the icing on the cake for Italy and his owners with a 25-yard strike just before stoppage time.
That left Lorenzo Insigne (€8.5m) as the only starting member of the Azzurri’s front three without an attacking return against the Swiss.
Italy are now through to the second round, with their clash against Wales on Sunday set to decide who tops Group A.
Italy XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Spinazzola, Chiellini, Bonucci, Di Lorenzo; Locatelli (Pessina 85′), Jorginho, Barella (Cristante 85′); Insigne (Chiesa 68′), Immobile, Berardi (Toloi 68′).
Switzerland XI (3-4-2-1): Sommer; Akanji, Schar (Widmer 57′), Elvedi; Rodriguez, Xhaka, Freuler (Sow 84′), Mbabu (Zuber 57′); Shaqiri; Embolo, Seferovic (Gavranovic 46′).
FINLAND 0-1 RUSSIA
- Goals: Aleksey Miranchuk (€6.5m)
- Assists: Artem Dzyuba (€8.5m)
A stunner from Aleksey Miranchuk (€6.5m) banked three points for Russia on Wednesday in a match that hinged on Fantasy favourite Lukas Hrádecky (€4.0m).
34% of EURO Fantasy managers own the Finland goalkeeper, who could not replicate his 13-point haul from the Matchday 1 win over Denmark.
In truth, this was less than an inspiring affair, with the first shot on target not occurring until late into the second half, although Russia did ramp up their efforts in the second.
The Miranchuk’s curling effort, while surrounded by four players, came from an Artem Dzyuba (€8.5m) assist just before half time.
Russia wing-back Mario Fernandes (€5.5m) was forced off after 26 minutes after an awkward fall. His participation against Denmark in Matchday 3 must now be in doubt.
“The players were a real team today. They fulfilled what they had to do and got the win. The formation I chose, I think, was right. To break down their defence we needed to use the wings and we did. The plan worked.” – Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov
Finland did have the ball in the net in the first half through Joel Pohjanpalo (€6.0m) but his header was ruled out for offside.
Teemu Pukki (€7.0m) left the pitch after 75 minutes despite Finland trailing, though no explanation was given by head coach Markku Kanerva.
Finland face a huge test against Belgium next Monday, needing a draw at least against the world’s No 1 ranked side.
“We defended well and going forward we improved on our display against Denmark. We didn’t manage to score but we had good situations: some shots that went narrowly wide, others were blocked. It was a really close game. Belgium are the number one team in the world and we will face a really great challenge. We still need to get at least one point and we will do everything to get it. I trust in my players; they have shown before they are capable of doing almost impossible things.” – Markku Kanerva
Finland XI (5-3-2): Hradecky; Uronen, O’Shaughnessy, Arajuuri, Toivio (Jensen 84′), Raitala (Soiri 75′); Kamara, Schuller (Kauko 67′), Lod; Pohjanpalo, Pukki (Lappalainen 75′).
Russia XI (3-4-2-1): Safonov; Dzhikiya, Diveev, Barinov; Kuzyaev, Zobnin, Ozdoev (Zhemaletdinov 61′), M Fernandes (Karavaev 26′); Golovin, Miranchuk (Mukhin 85′); Dzyuba (Sobolev 85′).
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