At Rome, Italy maintained their unbeaten run whereas in Baku Switzerland kept the hope alive for the progress to the next round. Wales breathe a sigh of relief despite the defeat at Rome because of the goal difference as they finished second in Group A.

Roberto Mancini made eight changes to his starting XI that beat Switzerland last time out, yet there was very little evidence of being hindered by their ‘B team’.

It was a bright start from Italy, and the two best chances in the opening exchanges fell to Andrea Belotti.

First, a fine cross from Alessandro Bastoni almost picked out the Torino forward but, at full stretch, was unable to connect. Then, with the ball at his feet, attempted a strike across the goal but it went well wide of the far post.

The breakthrough came seven minutes before the break, as Marco Verratti on his first start of the campaign picked out Matteo Pessina with a low cross which was cleverly steered home by the Atalanta defender.

At the start of the second half, Federico Bernardeschi quickly became the protagonist and came close to netting a freekick from all of 30 yards but was denied by the post.

Then, on 55 minutes, Ethan Ampadu caught Bernardeschi with a dangerous tackle for which the Welsh defender saw a straight red card.

Yet it was Wales who had arguably the best chance of the second period, as the ball found Bale all alone in the area on 75 minutes, but the Real Madrid forward could only blaze his volley over the bar.

The last time Italy won all of their group matches was way back in World Cup 1990 until Diego Maradona’s Argentina dashed their hopes.

Roberto Manchini is now one of the successful Italian coaches for remaining unbeaten in 30 matches.

Meanwhile, at Baku, a big win was much needed for Switzerland and the Swiss came out all guns blazing against Turkey.

Seferovic put Switzerland ahead in the sixth minute and hushed what had briefly been a raucous crowd. Under pressure from the Swiss defence, Zuber turned and played a pass for Seferovic, who placed his shot low into the far bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Zuber had a hand in Shaqiri’s second goal as well in the 26th. Seferovic drew the Swiss defence to the left side of the box and played in Zuber, who found Shaqiri in the space created. The Liverpool winger had time to control the ball and curl it into the top-right corner, leaving the goalkeeper no chance.

Kahveci got Turkey back into the game with his own spectacular curled shot in the 62nd – and was immediately substituted.

That woke up the pro-Turkey crowd in Baku, but Shaqiri soon broke away on a counterattack to restore the two-goal lead off Zuber’s third assist.

If Switzerland had scored two more goals, it would have overtaken Wales for second place in Group A and a guaranteed spot in the next round.


Switzerland finished third in Group A and will likely qualify as one of the four best third-place teams. The Swiss will have to wait until other groups are finished for confirmation.

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