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A neutral fan wouldn’t think that a match between Wales and Switzerland would be that important, but for these nations it absolutely is. By the time this game kicks off, the teams will have seen the opening match of Euro 2020 between Italy and Turkey, the other countries in Group A, so will have some idea of what they will be up against.
But, heading into the tournament, Wales and Switzerland are the outsiders to qualify from the group. However, while Wales might be the longest price in this section of the draw to reach the next stage, they are the shortest priced group outsiders from the six at Euro 2020, showing how competitive Group A is expected to be.
And with a third-place spot potentially being enough to reach the Round of 16, this match is vital to both nations’ hopes of advancing to the knockout phase. These sides know the importance of winning the opening game too, as both did so at Euro 2016 on their way into the knockout phase. There’s a lot riding on this match, for which Paddy has the Swiss down as strong favourites.
These countries have only ever clashed seven times in the past, and not for a decade. However, when Wales won that most recent meeting, way back in October 2011, their goals were scored by Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale. Perhaps it’s not so far removed from this latest fixture after all?
The concern from Robert Page’s perspective will be who is going to chip in with a goal if his two superstars are off form. The rest of the Welsh squad have 20 international goals between them and no individual player has more than five. While only five nations arrive at the tournament with fewer goals than Wales, only four have more than the Swiss.
Saturday 2pm: Wales v Switzerland
BBC One, S4C and BBC iPlayer
Vladimir Petkovic can call upon five men who are into double figures for their country, and even though one of them is Granit Xhaka, that’s no bad thing. As they are 13th in the FIFA rankings while Wales are 17th, it should be a relatively close contest. However, in matches versus other sides in the global top 20, Switzerland have a slightly better record in recent times.
In the last year they have drawn with Germany (twice) and Spain, while their defeats to Belgium, Croatia and Spain were all by a single goal. In the same period, the Welsh have lost 3-1 to Belgium and 3-0 to both England and France. With much more experience in the dugout, and five consecutive wins coming into this match, Switzerland should have enough to secure an all-important win in this crucial clash.
Switzerland’s Haris Seferovic finished the 2020/21 season as the second-top scorer in Portugal, with 22 goals, and he has scored six times in his last nine appearances for club and country so enters the tournament in decent form. More pertinently for this bet, he took the most shots of any player in the Primeira Liga this season, averaging 3.7 for every 90 minutes played.
The 29-year-old had at least five shots in eight league matches for Benfica and had five and four in his country’s Nations League double header with Germany last autumn. Switzerland should have more of the attacking opportunities and Seferovic stands a decent chance of having 5 or More Shots.
The Swiss left-back might seem an unlikely choice for a goal scorer bet but he has a good record against decent teams, having found the net against Belgium, Portugal and Spain over the years. If you’re wondering how he has scored in these matches, it’s because he’s Switzerland’s designated penalty taker, though his goal against the Spanish was from open play.
In what promises to be a tight encounter, chances may be at a premium. But you can always rely on VAR to shake things up, and the man in the middle loves pointing to the spot.
Clement Turpin is taking charge of this match and among the 14 current referees with at least 20 Champions League games on their CV, he awards penalties most regularly. He also gave Costa Rica one against Switzerland at the last World Cup so he probably owes them a penalty. If one of the Welsh defenders makes a blunder in the box, Rodriguez can Score First and punish it from 12 yards.
Tips for Wales v Switzerland
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