23 min: Aaron Ramsey runs on to another delightful through ball from Bale, doing well to stay onside. Clean through on goal, he rushes his effort and skies the ball over the bar. That’s two great chances he’s wasted, both of them created by wonderful Bale slide-rule passes. Encouraging stuff for Wales but they need to start putting some of these chances away.
21 min: James gets on the ball again, sprints to the touchline and tries to pull it back to Moore on the edge of the six-yard box. Kaan Ayhan slides in to intercept and for a moment it looks like he might put the ball into his own net. It pops up nicely for Turkey goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir, who grabs it.
19 min: This is a terrific game of football but the players of both teams will struggle to maintain these levels of energy. We’ve had chances at both ends, but Wales have had the pick of them. Dan James is wreaking havoc down the left wing whenever he gets on the ball. He’s giving Turkey right-back Mehmet Celik a very torrid time.
17 min: James picks out Bale at the far post and he heads it across the face of goal. Moore attempts to head the ball goalwards but couldn’t get his effort on target. En masse, the Wales appeal for a penalty for handball as the ball hits Soyuncu’s elbow. His arm was by his side and no spot-kick is forthcoming.
16 min: Ramsey sprays the ball wide for Bale, who started on the left but has sqitched to the right. He’s outjumped as he tries to win possession.
13 min: Back down the other end we go, with Cengiz Under shooting on the turn only to see his volleyed effort sail into the gloves of Danny Ward, who may have been unsighted.
12 min: Ben Davies and Dan James combine down the left flank, with the latter man getting a cross in. He picks out Moore, who heads over.
11 min: A minor bit of confusion at the back for Wales ends in relief for their fans when Burak Yilmaz is flagged for offside.
9 min: A quickly taken Turkey free-kick for a Joe Morrell foul in midfield results in Yilmaz galloping forwards to get on the end of a Kenan Karaman cross from the right. He shoots for goal from the edge of the area, but Chris Mepham gets a crucial deflection. From the corner, Wales gallop upfield on a counter-attack which Turkey defend well. It’s breathless, end to end stuff in Baku.
8 min: Wales have started very well and will consider themselves unfortunate not to be a goal up. THey’re not having it asll their own way, however, Turkey do look quite menacing going forwards.
6 min: SO CLOSE!!! In ther Turkey penalty area, Aaron Ramsey latches on to a beautifully weighted through ball from Gareth Bale, cuts inside and shoots for the near post. Ugurcan Cakir saves. Kieffer Moore was screaming for the ball in the middle.
4 min: A Caglar Soyuncu foul on Kieffer Moore gives Wales a free-kick just inside the Turkey half. They play it short and are forced backwards.
3 min: A looping Roberts throw-in into the Turky penalty area is headed clear. Moments later, Wales win a free-kick wide on the right. The delivery is poor but Ben Davies manages to get under the ball and send a weak header wide of the upright from about 15 yards.
2 min: Cengiz Under pings the ball forward trying to pick out Yilmaz, but Connor Roberts cuts it out with a good header.
Turkey v Wales is go …
1 min: The ball is rolling in Baku, with Wales wearing yellow shirts, green shorts and yellow socks. Turkey’s players wear all red.
Not long now: The teams march out on to the Olympic Stadium pitch in Baku, the small band of travelling Wales fans outnumbered but creating quite the din in their own corner of the stadium. The Turks are out first, led by Burak Yilmaz. Moments later, Wales follow with Gareth Bale applauding the Wales fans in the stand as he leads his team-mates out. The Welsh players turn to those supporters as their anthem is played. Hats off to them for making the journey.
Elsewhere in Group A: Italy host Switzerland in Rome at 8pm (BST) this evening. Should Wales fail to win against Turkey, they’ll be hoping for an Italy win later. The Republic of Ireland needed to beat Italy in their final group game in the most recent Euros and managed to do exactly that against a second string side who had already qualified for the second round and weren’t trying too hard against the Irish.
More from Gareth Bale
“It’s a game we need to win, obviously,” says the Wales skipper in an interview with the BBC. “I felt the result against Switzerland wasn’t bad but obviously we need to win games if we’re to progress. We’re all looking forward to it.
“Momentum is a big word. I think the most important thing is we didn’t lose the game; obviously we would have liked to have won but we showed a lot of character and strength to come back from one down to draw the game. We’ll try to carry the second half performance over to this game and look forward to trying to play well and get a good result.”
Match report: Finland 0-1 Russia
Group B: Alexey Miranchuk scored the only goal of the game as Russia put their disappointing defeat to Belgium behind them. Read on …
Full time: Finland 0-1 Russia
Group B: A moment of class from Alexey Miranchuk just before half-time settled a reasonably entertaining but often scrappy game in St Petersburg.
Wales (4-3-2-1): Ward; C. Roberts, Mepham, Rodon, B. Davies; Allen, Morrell; Bale, Ramsey, James; Moore.
An unchanged side from Wales …
Robert Page picks the same team that started against Switzerland, apparently putting paid to suggestions he might switch to three at the back for this game.
Senol Gunes makes two changes to his Turkey side. Cengiz Under and Kaan Ayhan come in for Merih Demiral and Yusuf Yazıcı.
Robert Page speaks …
“To get off to a positive start was important for us,” said the Wales manager of his team’s opener. “We go into every game for the win. If four points is enough [to qualify], brilliant. If not we’ll keep going. We respect the teams that are in this group and competition, but we don’t fear anybody.
“I’ve got 26 players who are chomping at the bit and raring to go, but because of the tournament environment [fitness] is something we’re going to have to keep an eye on.
“We’ve had great senior players, I’ve always said that. Where they come into it is on the pitch, managing the game. I’ve been really impressed with the lads that have played Championship football and stepped up to this level. They’ve more than given a good account of themselves.
“It’s about getting your best XI on the pitch. Temperature is a factor – can players sustain that in quick succession? We’ve only had one day to prepare for this one. Other than that it’s not going to be wholesale changes.”
Gareth Bale speaks
“We’d have preferred to play in front of 34,000 Wales fans, but it’s obviously not meant to be,” said the Welshman when asked about the hostile atmosphere his team will deal with tonight.
“To be playing in these tournaments you want to be playing in front of crowds. It’ll be nice to have that atmosphere in the stadium tomorrow. If anything it kind of spurs us on to be a bit more ruthless on the pitch. Obviously we’d love to put in a great performance and win, but at the end of the day it’s the result that counts.”
Please be upstanding for Elis James
Stuck in the back garden of his friend and fellow Wales fan Gwion’s house when the pair of them and their fellow Refund Boys would much rather be in Baku, comedian, TV presenter, podcaster and Swansea City obsessive Elis James is writing a series of guest columns for the Guardian during Euro 2020.
Readers in the UK and Ireland ought to check out Elis James: Football Nation, his recent documentary series on the history of Welsh football. You can find all four episodes of what is quite clearly a massive labour of unconditional love on the BBC iPlayer.
Early team news
Robert Page made some bold calls ahead of Wales’s match against Switzerland, opting to select Danny Ward in goal ahead of Wayne Hennessey and electing to play Kieffer Moore up front when many expected the target man to be a substitute. Both players rewarded their manager’s faith – Ward with a series of fine saves and Moore with an equaliser – and seem likely to start again tonight.
Senol Gunes could make several changes after his side’s dismal opening effort. Ozan Kabak may come into defence, while a tweak is almost certainly required in midfield in order to prevent his striker Burak Yilmaz becoming too isolated up front, as he did against Italy. It would be no great surprise to see Leicester City’s Cengiz Under start this evening.
Ben Fisher is in Baku for the Guardian and wrote this preview ahead of today’s game, in which he explains the very tight relationship between Azerbaijan and their neighbours from Turkey.
Group A: Turkey v Wales
The Baku Olympic Stadium is the venue for this Group A encounter between Turkey and Wales. The Turks could scarcely have been more underwhelming in heavy defeat to Italy in their opening match, while it could be argued Wales played a little within themselves while taking a decent point against Switzerland.
Going solely on the evidence of Turkey’s abysmal opening performance, Robert Page’s men ought to have little to fear this evening, but their opponents are unlikely to be as meek this time out.
Already on the back foot in Group A, Senol Gunes’s side are likely to have huge backing in the stadium, where the vast majority of the expected 30,000 crowd will be firmly behind Turkey. Kick-off in Baku is at 5pm (BST) but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.
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