A terrific performance from Wales saw them see Turkey off and all but ensure themselves a place in the last 16. As intense tonight as they were wan against Switzerland, if their best players continue to play as well as this, they can cause problems for any team.
Wales started superbly, pressing high up the pitch and dominating possession. But when Gareth Bale found Aaron Ramsey with superb passes, twice, Ramsey botched his finish, and as Turkey grew into the game, the feeling grew that Wales might’ve missed their chance. Not so. On 42 minutes, Bale again bisected the Turkish defence with a single pass, and this time Ramsey controlled beautifully before applying the finish.
The second half was scrappier and more even, but bang on the hour, Bale induced a foul from Zeki Celik right on the left edge of the box. Bale took the penalty himself, pausing confidently before blazing over the bar in highly amusing fashion.
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At that point, it looked like Wales were tempting fate, but they held out well enough while posing a threat on the counter and in the dying moments, Connor Roberts scrambled home a decisive second. As such, Turkey must now beat Switzerland - and even then they might still go home - while Wales can now plan for the knockouts.
Daniel James is often derided as a Roadrunner player: someone who runs fast, but has little else to offer. The reality, though, is somewhat different: when he’s confident, James can press well, finish well and give any full-back a hard time - especially if playing on the left as he was tonight.
But at his age - he's 23 now - he needs to be playing regularly, and that is not going to happen at Manchester United. Ahead of him already are Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial and it looks like Jadon Sancho will follow, while behind him, Anthony Elanga, Shola Shoretire and Amad Diallo have more ability and also need to play.
As such, much as James will want to forge a career at United, for the sake of that career - and when this is all over - he should leave this summer. Given time and confidence, he can develop into a decent Premier League player - but for that to happen, he needs time on the pitch.
Bale was somewhere close to his best against Turkey
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Gareth Bale (Wales) There were 11 gigantic performances out there, all of them by Wales players, so it's slightly strange to plump for the bloke who wellied a penalty over the bar. But Bale created two brilliant chances and both goals, making him the game's decisive component.
Turkey: Cakir 6, Celik 4, Ayhan 5, Soyuncu 6, Meras 6, Yokuslu 5, Karaman 5, Tufan 4, Calhanoglu 6, Under 6, Yilmaz 6. Subs: Demiral 6, Yazici 6, Muldur 6, Dervisoglu 6, Kahveci 6.
Wales: Ward 8, Rberts 8, Mepham 8, Rodon 8, Davies 8, Bale 9, Morrell 7, Ramsey 8, James 8, Moore 7. Subs: Ampadu 6, Wilson 6, Willams 6.
Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey created four chances for each another, the most of any duo in a single Euro 2020 game. At Euro 2016, the most by any pair was also Bale and Ramsey (six against Russia).
24’ - YE'VE GOTTAE SCORE! Bale sticks another fantastic ball in behind, this time through the middle, and Ramsey is onto it! His first touch moves it right, so when he comes to hit it he's sort of coming around his own arse. But he's got so much time and so much space - it's as though he can't believe either are real - that he just takes an almighty swing, sending the ball flying high over the bar. Wales can't keep missing chances like this, but on the other hand they're playing really well.
42’ - GOAL! Turkey -1 Wales (Ramsey) THIS HAS BEEN COMING! Again, Bale drops deep, again Turkey give him time to pick a pass, and again, he picks out Ramsey, running alone beyond the Turkish line. But this time he stays calm, leaping to control majestically on his chest, before scuffing a half-volley past Cakir. What a strike! What a plan!
60’ - PENALTY TO WALES! Bale runs at the befuddled Celik and dips outside him, right on the line of the box, left-hand side. Celik can't help but extend a leg, Bale can't help but fall over it even if he wants top but he doesn't, and this is qualification right here!
61’ - HE'S BODINED IT! BALE HAS BODINED IT! He steps up, pauses, then larrups way over the bar! that is foolish behaviour!
87’ - AND HERE'S THAT CHANCE! Calhanoglu picks out Demiral, whose leap is huuuuge, and he headbuts a monstrous effort that Ward parries away! That is a save!
90+6’ - GOAL! Turkey 0-2 Wales (Roberts) Again, Wales take the corner short, and again, the brilliant Bale drives towards the box. Just when the shot looks on, he flicks outside him to Roberts, and the right-back sweeps the decider low past Cakir! WALES ARE GOING INTO THE LAST 16!
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