By Overcomer Egigba
The Italians are cooking something, first they grilled the turkey and then added the Swiss cheese, and the sweet-smelling savor of what they are preparing and the ease with which they prepared it has gotten a lot of football fans especial the Azzurri’s supporters, taking about Italy going al the way to lift the trophy in Wembley come July 11th.
The Italians have won the European championship once in 1968 which they also hosted, since then they’ve only reached the finals on two occasions in 2000 and in 2012 and have reached the semis three times.
What’s next for the Italians being the first to qualify for the round of sixteen of the Euro 2020. Although some might want to play down their achievements, given that they are in group A that contains Turkey, Switzerland and Wales, and do play at home at the Stadia Olimpico in Rome given that it’s one of the host cities of Euro 2020 which is played across the continent in 11 host cities.
But let’s not forget that coming into this tournament the Turks were very formidable at the back conceding just 3 goals in 3 years and were a team of young and promising superstars playing across Europe and were being touted as one of the dark horses of this tournament.
The Swiss on the other hand are a strong team and very difficult to beat and have reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Nations League losing to eventual winners Portugal and losing to the England in the 3rd place play-offs on penalties.
While the Welsh team can be the only one touted as the week side in this group before the tournament giving that their two talismans in Gareth Bale and Aeron Ramsey haven’t played much football in the last two years are not the players, they once were in 2016 when they fired Wales to the semi-final of the Euros, losing to eventual winners Portugal. To be honest the Welsh team have been the surprise package of the group playing a 1:1 draw with Switzerland in the opening group game and then beating Turkey two goal to nothing in the second group game in which they could have scored more had Ramsey taken his chances and had Gareth bale scored his penalty.
The final group games in this group see Italy square up against Wales and Switzerland take up Turkey in a must win game for both side if they are to get to the next round. The pressure in group A is now on Switzerland knowing that they need a win against a turkey side that have lost their two-group game to be able to stand a chance of making it to the last 16, either as second place in the group depending on the score line of the Italy vs Wales game or as one of the best losers into the next round of the tournament.
The resilient Wales team driven by their captain Bale, whom has been at the heart of their success this far in this tournament will be hoping that they can be a tough test for Roberto Mancini’s men who are yet to lose since he took charge of the Azzurris. The Turks might still have a chance of getting to the next round if they can take all 3 points against Switzerland but they will have to hope that other results in the tournament go their way, which will be a long wait.
Remaining Group A Fixtures
Italy vs Wales – Sunday 20-06-2021 – 17:00 GMT+1
Switzerland vs Turkey – Sunday, 20-06-2021 – 17:00 GMT+1
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