The report is in so I’ll say goodbye and leave you with that. It’s almost impossible for Wales not to reach the knockout stage now. Let the journey continue. Thanks for all your emails and goodnight.
Umut Meras speaks: ““I would like to apologise,” the Turkish defender tells Uefa.com. “We wanted to win so hard tonight but that was not enough. We still have one more game to play and we will try our best to win against Switzerland.”
Aaron Ramsey speaks: “I felt a bit of relief,” he says of his goal. “I’d had two opportunities to score before that. First half we were brilliant. We dominated the play and created so many opportunities. Second half, we showed great character. We dug in and I thought we thoroughly deserved the win in the end.
““We left everything out there. That is what we have built our success on in the last few years, working hard for each other, and we showed it again tonight.”
Connor Roberts speaks: “We have another massive game against Italy on Sunday but we’ve done ourselves no harm winning tonight,” he says, with considerable understatement. “The plan before the game was to win and play well and I think we have done that. Gareth has said a little I’m sorry for missing the penalty but without him and Rambo I don’t think we would have won tonight. I don’t think we would have even been at this tournament. We’re quite a young group but we’ve got resilience and players who just keep on running.”
More from Bale: “We are in a fantastic position now, if you had offered us four points at this stage beforehand we would have bitten your hand off,” he says. He goes on to thank the fans who travelled to Baku and those supporting the team from home. “I am sure they will be cheering in their millions tonight,” he says.
Gareth Bale speaks ...
“First of all, I’m absolutely delighted with the win,” he tells the BBC. “We fought hard, we worked our socks off like we always do. I missed a pen but I feel like I showed good character to help the team keep going. We needed that victory more than anything and the second goal at the end was the icing on the cake.”
That second goal: Wales won a corner, which they took short. Rather than keep the ball down by the flag, Bale sprinted down the byline and was waved through by two defenders, before pulling the ball back to Connor Roberts on the edge of the six yard box. The full-back made no mistake.
Full time: Turkey 0-2 Wales
Group A: Wow! What a game! What! A! Game! Every single one of those Wales players deserve credit for a wonderful team performance which featured some splendid individual displays.
His awful penalty notwithstanding, Gareth Bale was instrumental in this victory. He set up both goals, several other chances and went close himself on a couple of occasions. Dan James, Kieffer Moore, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Ward were also excellent in an outstanding group effort in which nobody let their teammates or manager down.
90+6 min: There are Wales fans crying their eyes out in the stands as the ref forces Turkey’s reluctant players to kick off against their will before blowing his whistle. It’s all over! Wales are all but through to the last 16.
GOAL! Turkey 0-2 Wales (Roberts 90+5)
Connor Roberts scores at the death!!! He prods home from the edge of the six-yard box after more excellent work from Bale.
90+4 min: Bale doesn’t keep it in the corner, but does cut inside his man and rifle a shot goalwards from a tight angle. It’s saved. ANother corner.
90+ 3 min: Wales win a corner and ought to try to keep the ball near the flag. Time for a substitution: Neco Williams on for Dan James.
90 min: Ah! Ben Davies shoved Yilmaz to ther ground after the Turkey striker had leaned over and given a prone Wales defender - Rodon, perhaps? - who was lying on the ground a little cuff on the chin.
89 min: Turkey drive forward again, sending a long ball towardss Yilmaz. Wales clear. The ball comes back towards Yilmaz and Wales clear again. Now there’s a big skirmish in the Wales penalty area near the edge of the six-yard box, with Burak Yilmaz and Chris Mepham being restrained. Mepham, Ben Davies and Yilmaz are all booked.
87 min: Mepham blocks a cross and concedes a corner. Demiral connects with the inswinger but Danny Ward saves brilliantly from almost point blank range. From the ensuing corner, Dan James breaks down the left touchline, beats his man and has three men up in support. He overhits his cross and the ball sails out of play.
86 min: Wales are defending deep, as you might imagine, but earn some respite as Kieffer Moore controls a breaking ball near the halfway line and wins a free-kick.
84 min: Wales substitution: Harry Wilson on, Aaron Ramsey off.
84 min: Turkey substitution: Kahveci on for Under.
82 min: Chris Mapham shepherds the ball out of play for a goal kick despite the best attempts of Burak Yilmaz to rob it.
80 min: Ramsey slides in to deny Muldur in the Wales penalty area after a poor first touch from the substitute meant he was delayed in pulling the trigger. Brilliant defending.
78 min: Wales break forwardwith Ramsey on the ball. He stands the ball up at the far post, where Bale outjumps Soyuncu. His downward header is saved by Cakir.
78 min: Turkey have had more possession, more attempts on goal and more corners, but Wales continue to lead by the only statistic that ultimately matters.
76 min: Desperate defending from Wales, who have to keep out a corner. Turkey’s pressure is almost relentless. Turkey substitution while Kieffer Moore was receiving treatment: Halil Dervisoglu on for Kenan Karaman.
74 min: Soyuncu and Kieffer Moore contest a high ball and the Turkish defender accidentally catches the Welshman with his knee on their way back to earth. Moore has claret pouring from his nose, not the first time he’s shed blood for his country in this tournament.
72 min: Wales substitution: Ethan Ampadu on for Joe Allen. Turkey substitution: Mert Muldur on for Umat Meras.
71 min: Soyuncu stands the ball up at the back post, where Under heads it back towards the penalty spot. From a standing start, Yilmaz can only head weakly into the gloves of Danny Ward.
68 min: Turkey win an uncontested drop ball after referee Artur Dias accidentally gets in the way of a cross-field pass. They work the ball forward and Calanhoglu tries to play the ball in behind for Yilmaz. His pass is intercepted.
67 min: Wales win a corner, alleviating some of the intense recent pressure they’ve been under. The ref spots an infringement in the penalty area and awards Turkey a free-kick.
64 min: Moments after missing that penalty, which had a touch of the Roberto Baggios in World Cup 1994 about it, Gareth Bale almost redeemed himself when blocking a Cakir clearance. The ball bounces inches wide of the upright.
63 min: Umut Meras wins a corner for Turkey as his shot is blocked by Connor Roberts. Ayhan gets his head to the inswinger but his downward effort is saved by Ward.
GARETH BALE MISSES!!!
Oh no! That’s awful from Bale, who shoots over the bar. It remains 1-0 to the Welsh but that’s a glorious chance gone to waste.
PENALTY FOR WALES !
Gareth Bale is brought down by Mehmet Celik on the edge of the penalty area as the winger cut inside from the left.
59 min: A shot takes a deflection and a wrong-footed Ugurcan Cakir does well to keep it out. Turkey break down the pitch with Yilmaz on the ball but he’s not quick enough to out-run Chris Mepham.
58 min: Danny Ward is given a talking-to by referee Artur Dias for time-wasting as he dilly-dallies over the free-kick. He avoids a booking.
56 min: From a Turkey free-kick wide on the right, Wales concede a corner. Ayhan is penalised for shoving in the penalty area and the Welsh get a chance to clear their lines. They’re under some serious pressure here.
54 min: Turkey go close from a corner! A header across the face of goal is headed on by Kaan Ayhan into the path of Yilmaz, who volleys over the bar.
53 min: Dan James takes the corner, curling the ball goalwards. Ugurcan Cakir punches clear. Burak Yilmaz breaks upfield but Wales get back in numbers to stop him. They work the ball forwards again, prompting Bale to try his luck from 25 yards. He takes a touch to steady himself before shooting over the bar.
52 min: Gareth Bale plays another delightful pass up the inside-left for Ramsey to chase. He wins a corner for Wales.
50 min: It’s been a frantic start to this second half. Danny Ward gets down low to save a Calhanoglu shot from distance that fizzes through a thicket of legs.
48 min: Another cross from the left from James bamboozles Coyuncu and Merih Demiral, one of two half-time substitutes. The ball is put out for a Wales corner, from which nothing comes. Turkey half-time subs: Merih Demiral and Yusuf Yazic on for Okay Yokuslu and Ozan Tufan. Demiral slots in at centre-back with Kaan Ayhan moving to central midfield.
47 min: Cengiz Under is unable to steer the ball home at the near post as a cross is lofted from the left and Ben Davies gets caught out. Close but no cigar for Turkey.
Second half: Turkey 0-1 Wales
46 min: Away we go for a massive 45 minutes in the history of Welsh football. A win tonight will almost certainly see them through to the last 16, while anything less will probably leave them needing to beat Italy in Rome in their final group game. They have the advantage here but it couldn’t be more slender.
Some first half admin: It was Turkish right-back Umut Meras who avoided what looked like a nailed on yellow card for barging Dan James off the ball as the winger broke down the field. It came during a spell of sustained Turkey pressure after a good opening 25 minutes from Wales. The Welsh can expect more pressure of that nature in a second half when Turkey will be desperate to score.
Half-time: Turkey 0-1 Wales
Peep! That was a terrific half of football and it ends with Wales a goal in front. Having latched on to two Gareth Bale passes from deep earlier in the half, only to miss glorious scoring chances, Aaron Ramsey finally made it third time lucky. He controlled an amazing ball from deep on his chest before slotting past Cakir into the bottom left-hand corner.
45+1 min: Burak Yilmaz shoves Joe Rodon in the Wales penalty area to concede a free-kick.
43 min: That is a wonderful goal. Bale tees up Aaron Ramsey for the third time tonight and this time the Juventus midfielder makes no mistake. He times his run into the penalty area to perfection, chests down a glorious lofted ball from deep and spanks the ball home past Ugurcan Cakir. What a pass! What a run! What a finish! Wales lead.
GOAL! Turkey 0-1 Wales (Ramsey 42)
Ramsey scores at the third time of asking!!!
41 min: Ramsey picks out Joe Allen with a ball in behind to the byline. A poor touch from Allen sends the ball out of play for a goal kick.
39 min: Connor Roberts advances into space down the right flank but over-hits his cross with three men, including Kieffer Moore, waiting in the box.
39 min: Joe Rodon does well to put a stop to Okay Yokuslu’s gallop as the Turkey midfielder advanced towards the Wales penalty area.
37 min: Brilliant from Soyuncu, who slides in to dispossess Gareth Bale with a perfectly timed tackle as the Wales skipper tried to beat him on his outside. Wales were in a wonderful position there, cantering upfield in a three-on-two counter-attack.
34 min: In all the excitement of that recent five-minute spell where Turkey had Wales under the cosh, Dan James was fouled as he attempted to gallop upfield on the break. I’m not sure who brought him down but, theydidn’t even concede a free-kick, let alone get a yellow card.
32 min: The Uefa coverage of this game, which is being usedby broadcasters around the continent, is currently dogged by gremlins. We currently seem to have pictures from just one camera.
32 min: From the ensuing corner, Turkey win the ball again but Wales manage to scramble clear.
31 min: Turkey corner. The ball’s swung into the mixer, where Ayan connects with his head. On the post, Joe Morrell clears it. The ball was going narrowly wide but he didn’t know that.
29 min: Cengiz Under plays the ball wide to Karaman on the right touchline and he gallops forwards. He attempts a return pass to Under, but Davies intercepts.
26 min: Danny Ward finds Connor Roberts with a long, inch perfect goal-kick to the touchline and Wales go on the attack again. They’re dominating possession and Bale is playing an awful lot better than he did against the Swiss.
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.
6 min: Wales throw-in, deep in the Turkey half. Soyuncu clears his long effort.
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.
Turkey v Wales line-ups
Turkey (4-1-4-1): Cakir; Celik, Ayhan, Soyuncu, Meras; Yokuslu; Under, Karaman, Tufan, Calhanoglu; Yilmaz.
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.
Tonight’s match officials
- Referee: Artur Dias (Portugal)
- Assistant referees: Rui Tavares and Paulo Soares (Portugal)
- Fourth official: Bartosz Frankowski (Poland)
- Video Assistant Referee: Joao Pinheiro
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.