Welcome to FourFourTwo’s Turkey vs Wales liveblog! We’ll be keeping you bang up-to-date with all the action from a baking Baku over the next few hours. The starting XIs are due to drop in the next few minutes…
This has the makings of an end-to-end Euros classic.* Before the tournament began, both teams will have had one eye on this fixture as a must-win game if they are to reach the last 16. Both have to win, both have to attack, so surely goals are in our midsts, right?
*This statement is not legally binding.
The Wales team is in. Coach Rob Page has picked an unchanged XI, keeping faith with goalscorer Kieffer Moore up top.
YN CYNRYCHIOLI CYMRU🇹🇷 v 🏴No changes from the side that faced Switzerland.#WAL | #EURO2020 | #CmonCymru | #TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/kcTfkEsrC8June 16, 2021
Turkey's team is in. Kaan Ayhan replaces Juventus' Merih Demiral at centre-back, while Cengiz Under, who spent last season embedding splinters in his backside on the Leicester City bench, comes in for Yusuf Yazici in midfield.
📋Start-XI @MilliTakimlar 🇹🇷🆚🏴#EURO2020 | #TURWAL | #TUR pic.twitter.com/ya84dyZ0DAJune 16, 2021
Though this evening’s feast of football fun is being played in Baku, it will have the feel of a home game for Turkey. Turkey and Azerbaijan are very close geopolitical allies and share a motto, "two states, one nation".
The former gave the latter military muscle in a brief but bitter war with Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region last year.
The countries signed a trading and security alliance yesterday and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be in attendance this evening, along with 30,000, predominantly Turkish, fans, at the Olympic Stadium.
Here ends your politics lesson.
This isn't just an unchanged Wales XI, it's an unchanged Wales XXIII, as my wonderful FFT colleague (and bona fide Welsh legend) Huw Davies has pointed out...
Not just an unchanged XI for Wales but an unchanged XXIII - no Smith, Colwill nor Cabango on the bench, when some fans have been calling for Cabango to replace Mepham. Lockyer, the late replacement for Lawrence, is ahead of him. As for forwards: HT changes advisable in this heat.June 16, 2021
Speaking of Huw, you should read his fabulous recollection of Euro 2016.
He was in amongst it five years ago, but hasn't made it to Baku this time around because of something called *checks notes* a pandemic? Never heard of it myself...
It’s little surprise Page has stuck with Kieffer Moore – Wales have never lost a game in which the Cardiff centre-forward has scored.
A former lifeguard who in the semi-recent past has had spells at Truro, Dorchester Town, Moore may not win many beauty prizes but he’s very effective.
We're now being treated to a Baywatch montage on the BBC. He'll be ready to score tonight. [You're fired. Ed.]
Tonight will be Gareth Bales 94th Wales cap, moving him to within two of Wayne Hennessey in second place in the Dragons' all-time list.
Hennessey and Chris Gunter, the only centurion in Wales' history, are on the bench this evening.
Wales weren't exactly at their best in drawing with Switzerland last time out but boss Rob Page has told the BBC cameras that he wants more of the same.
"We set our foundations," he said. "We were hardworking, we showed resilience and we can come back from difficult situations against a good team."
We mentioned earlier that we could be in for a goal-fest this evening. Anything like the last time these teams faced each other would be great. In August 1997, Turkey beat the Welsh 6-4 (yes, really) in a World Cup qualifier in Istanbul.
During the inimitable reign of Bobby Gould, it's one of best games in international football and was littered with defensive howlers.
"6-4 is not a normal score," said former Wales boss John Toshack, who had just taken over at Besiktas, at the time. Never let it be said Toshack is someone to over-egg the pudding.
Fancy a flutter this evening? The fine folk at Bet365 have some odds for you...
Turkey left-back Umut Meras will be up against it this evening. The 25-year-old plays for Le Havre in Ligue 2 and only has 14 caps. Today, he'll be looking after Gareth Bale.
Wondering what Wales' draw with Switzerland on Saturday mean for their chances of getting out of the group?
Wonder no further, thanks to FFT's handy guide.
Turkey captain Burak Yilmaz may not be a massive name, but the centre-forward has average a goal every other game for much of the past decade. Only the great Hakan Sukur has scored more.
Apropos of nothing, Sukur now lives in exile in the United States, where he works as a taxi driver, after perceived criticisms of president Erdogan.
Italy and France would probably have something to say about it, but Wales' national anthem is a bona fide banger.
There may not be many of them in the Baku, but the Welsh fans have just treated us to a fine rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of My Fathers).
The teams are out, anthems have been sung, and we're about to play a game of football...
AND WE'RE OFF!
Wales are channelling their inner Australia with their yellow and green change strip.
CHANCE FOR WALES! Gareth Bale jinks and weights a brilliant through ball to Aaron Ramsey in the box. The Juve midfielder turns adroitly, sending Caglar Soyuncu for hot dog, and shoots from the edge of the box but the keeper saves with his legs. Kieffer Moore was screaming for it to be squared.
Good game this. Turkey take a quick free-kick to free Under down the left, the former Leicester loanee crossing for skipper Yilmaz, whose first-time shot is parried by Danny Ward in the Wales goal. From the ensuing corner, Wales break and force a corner of their own. Ten minutes gone, this is breathless stuff.
Dan James breaks down the left wing and delivers a superb cross with his weaker foot to the back post where Moore rises but heads over. For someone so proficient with his bonce, that was a decent chance.
Wales are adamant they should have a penalty for handball. James cut inside this time, curling his cross to Bale at the back post, who headed it back across goal to spark a mini-scramble in the box. Soyuncu did brilliantly to get a foot on it ahead of Moore, the ball then hitting his arm, but it was by the Leicester man's side and the referee correctly waved play on.
Two conclusions from the first 20 minutes in Baku.
- Dan James has right-back Zeki Celik on toast.
- You could probably make toast pitchside in Baku. It looks sweltering.
Another half-chance for Wales. Ramsey feeds – him again – James down the left, the Manchester United winger surges to the byline and cuts back to Moore, but Kaan Ayhan blocks.
RAMSEY HAS TO SCORE! Bale plays a wonderful reverse pass threaded to perfection through the Turkey, which parts like the Red Sea. Ramsey is all alone on the right-hand edge of the area with only the keeper to beat, but panics and slashes wildly over.
Wales have to make their dominance count or this is going to feel like one of those days. We're halfway through the first half.
Here's a nice picture of speedster Bale, reminiscent of the great Ronaldo in France 98....
Catch him if you can 💨#WAL #TUR #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/C44Ai46dKqJune 16, 2021
By all accounts, Turkey are coming back into this. I say 'by all accounts' because we've lost pictures for the past five minutes or so. Someone needs to put a *Googles Azerbaijani currency* manat in the meter.
Just over 10 minutes of the first half remain.
Turkey, much like the TV feed, have woken up noticeably since that glorious Ramsey chance. They're now dominating the ball and making Wales do a lot of running.
Gareth Bale nicks the ball high and is off on the counter, with a three on two in Wales' favour. The Real Madrid man shows too much of the ball to Soyuncu – all arms, legs and Jamie Carragher-style lunges – who slides in to snuff out the danger.
Turkey playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu – who made nine assists in Serie A for AC Milan last season – is starting to pick up the ball in half-spaces and is linking well with Yilmaz.
Still 0-0 with five minutes, plus injury time, to go.
GOAL! Ramsey has scored!
The goal is the first half in a nutshell. Bale ghosted in from the right win again, clipping a superb reverse pass over the Turkey defence, who turned around in horror as Ramsey is alone in the box. The Juve man controls on his chest and bundles the ball into the corner.
The players go crazy. Robbie Savage on co-commentary goes crazy. "He can miss as many as he likes if that's the winning goal," says the ex-Leicester man on co-commentary. There's still 45 minutes to go, Sav...
HALF-TIME Turkey 0-1 Wales. Ramsey could have had a hat-trick in the opening 45 minutes, but he didn't dwell on the misses and has scored the goal Wales' play has deserved.
Turkey, bar a 10-minute period, have struggled to get in the game.
Ramsey kept his nerve brilliantly, scoring with his hardest chance of the half.
Joe Allen has been quietly effective in the first-half and allowed Wales to get on the front foot.
For your half-time reading, check out our pre-tournament interview with the man himself. Includes plenty of chicken chat.
And here's the goal that has brought out the Valleys into song.
A piece of absolute brilliance from Bale and Ramsey!Turkey 0-1 Wales ⚽📻 @BBCRadioWales @BBCSounds📺 @BBCOne @BBCiPlayer Follow 📱💻 https://t.co/xjcrEpzgpI#bbceuros #euro2020 #TURWAL pic.twitter.com/j8nYlHG86mJune 16, 2021
TURKEY SUBSTITUTIONS. Yusuf Yazici has replaced Ozan Tufan in attacking midfield, with Merih Demiral replacing Okay Yokuslu further back. Demiral will now slide in alongside Soyuncu at the back, with Ayhan now anchoring the midfield.
This is now the XI that started against Italy on Saturday.
AND WE'RE OFF AGAIN! The second half has started, with Turkey immediately on the front foot. One would imagine they've had the proverbial rocket from Senol Gunes at half time.
Gunes is one of the few former goalkeepers to become a manager. Only one, Raymond Goethals with Marseille in 1993, has ever won the Champions League. I've often wondered why. Surely, they're experts at watching and analysis football...
TURKEY CHANCE! Huge let off for Wales, 10 minutes into the second half. A Turkey corner was headed back across goal by substitute Merih Demiral. Eight yards out and all alone, Burak Yilmaz blasts a volley over the bar. He usually gobbles those up.
Well, if the opening 15 minutes of the second half are a precursor for what's to follow, we're in for a treat. This is a basketball game, not a football match. Proper end-to-end stuff.
PENALTY TO WALES! Gareth Bale has been tripped on the edge of the box.
BALE MISSES! After a stuttering run-up, Bale blazes over. It was a poor penalty, in truth. Shades of Chris Waddle at Italia 90.
Then, from the goal kick, Bale charges down the Turkey keeper and deflects the ball agonisingly wide.
I need a lie down.
Bale has been superb tonight, resembling the marauder in his last season before joining Real Madrid.
Twenty-five minutes to go and Turkey have a lot of guts and grunt, but not much in the way of goals. So far, anyway...
It wasn't close, in truth, and Bale's penalty is probably halfway to Istanbul now.
TURKEY SUBSTITUTION. Mert Muldur comes on for left-back Meras, who has struggled against Bale.
WALES SUBSTITUTION. Ethan Ampadu replaces Joe Allen at the base of Wales' midfield. They're conceding ground and possession regularly now, so this is a wise move from Rob Page.
Fifteen minutes for Wales to see out a famous win.
Sweat watch: Wales' change strip of yellow now resembles something closer to gold.
Wales. Rugby. Madrid. In that order.
Gareth Bale. Rugby. Joke. Something.June 16, 2021
This is still a brilliant game for the neutral. Wales are increasingly nervy when the ball goes into their own box, but they're still a real threat on the break, with James resembling a Duracell bunny down the left. Just need the dark green shorts to be a darker shade.
Chances for both side as we hit the 80th minute. Bale climbs highest in the box but can only head straight at keeper Ugurcan.
Then, Turkey work their way through midfield to free substitute Muldur on the gallop on the left-hand edge of the penalty area. The left-back's touch is heavy and Connor Roberts does well to slide in.
TURKEY SUBSTITUTION. Irfan Kahveci is coming on for the last eight minutes for Cengiz Under, who has been lively but has barely played all season.
Seven minutes to go. Can Wales hold on? It's all Turkey at the minute...
Robbie Savage is stressed. He's just asked how long's left. Five minutes, Sav. Still all Turkey, probing, looking for their opportunity.
Kieffer Moore buys Wales some breathing space by winning a free-kick which Danny Ward launches long.
Harry Wilson is now on for Wales, replacing the goalscorer Ramsey, who looks shattered.
WARD SAVES BRILLIANTLY! Calhanoglu's inswinging corner is met superbly by Demirel, but Ward is equal to it, diving well to his left.
Then, Wales break through man-of-the-match James down the left, but the Manchester United winger overhits his cross with Wilson well placed.
This is a great game. One minute of normal time to go.
Heroic scenes in the Wales box where Joe Rodon puts his head on the line to beat Yilmaz to the ball. Yilmaz ends up whacking Rodon in the face. Yilmaz offers a tap on the face of the prone Rodon, Connor Roberts then pushes the Turkey skipper over with some force. He's a lucky boy, he raised his hands but didn't even get a yellow card.
Cool heads needed. Two minutes of injury time to go.
Wales on the counter again. "Get it in the corner," squeals Savage, instead Bale feeds Wilson to seal it but his shot is saved.
GOAL TO WALES. IT'S 2-0 AND THEY'RE IN DREAMLAND!!!!!
From the corner, Wales play quickly and Bale beats two defenders when there seems to be no space – proper David Copperfield stuff – and squares to Connor Roberts to slide home. Robert Page and his staff go crazy, the players almost crush Roberts to death.
"KEEP THE BALL IN THE CORNER!" implored Savage. Bet he's glad Bale didn't listen.
FULL TIME: Turkey 0-2 Wales.
They've done it. Fully deserved, Wales have won. Savage can't stop shouting and resorts to just naming Welsh players. In fairness, Rodon, Bale and (in particular) James were superb on the night.
The only thing Bale did wrong all night was the penalty. This was Bale 1.0, the original, accept no substitute. He's now leading a huddle with the whole squad, hopefully not saying "this does not slip."
If Bale does retire, as rumours have suggested he might, after Euro 2020, it would be such a shame. He scored 16 goals and made four assists last season on loan for Spurs and led his country by example tonight.
He gets a rum do because of what we know he can do, but there's still a wonderful footballer in there, when motivated.
Here's the goal that clinched Wales' victory. That's four points out of six for the Dragons, who will be delighted to face Italy knowing qualification is all but secured.
Here's how Connor Roberts sealed the win for Wales! Turkey 0-2 Wales ⚽📻 @BBCRadioWales @BBCSounds📺 @BBCOne @BBCiPlayer Follow 📱💻 https://t.co/n28Wi4nVV7#bbceuros #euro2020 #TURWAL pic.twitter.com/hCNQs5omxxJune 16, 2021
Bale's penalty was the first spot-kick missed – not saved, but off target – in normal time since Euro 2000.
Guess what, he couldn't care less.
"That's the best and will probably never be matched," says Roberts to the BBC after the game. "We've done ourselves no harm tonight, winning that."
As for Turkey, they were poor on the night. They had plenty of the ball, but apart from Burak Yilmaz's volley at the beginning of the second half and Danny Ward's fine save from substitute Demirel, they created little and will need to beat Switzerland on Sunday to progress.
Give this man a raise.
And let's have a look at that winning conversion... pic.twitter.com/Ai3DOWVCcNJune 16, 2021
My FFT colleague Richard Jolly with the stat of the night.
At what point do we say Wales are Euros specialists?
Wales did not play in the European Championships until 2016 but already have as many wins ever in the Euros as Austria, Bulgaria, Norway, Romania & Ukraine have between them.June 16, 2021
I'm going to bring this liveblog to a close. Thanks for reading and congratulations to Wales, the excellent Dan James and two-assist Gareth Bale.
The last word goes to Joe Allen, asked on the BBC how he feels?
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