Paris (AFP) – Wales are readying themselves for a hostile reception when they face Turkey in Baku at Euro 2020 later after Tuesday’s action saw world champions France beat Germany and Cristiano Ronaldo become the all-time top European Championship goal-scorer.
After drawing 1-1 with Switzerland in their opening Group A game at the weekend, Wales face Turkey in Baku where locals are expected to get behind their Turkish neighbours, who will also have several thousand travelling fans on their side.
“Hostility is no problem. This is what we do for a living. We’re used to playing in away games and being in front of hostile crowds,” Wales captain Gareth Bale said.
Turkey come into the game by the Caspian Sea desperate to shake off the disappointment of losing 3-0 to Italy in the tournament’s opening match.
“For two days following the game we were very fragile, we were very broken. We were really tired and negative,” Turkey captain Burak Yilmaz said on Tuesday as he looked forward to having the crowd on his side in Baku.
“It will be like a host city for us. With the help of the country we want to win this game.”
Impressive in their first outing, and with home advantage in Rome, Italy can secure a place in the last 16 already with a win over Switzerland later on Wednesday.
Before that Russia host neighbours Finland in Saint Petersburg looking for their first points in Group B.
– Germany under pressure –
On Tuesday, a 20th-minute Mats Hummels own goal proved enough for 2018 World Cup winners France to beat 2014 World Cup winners Germany 1-0 in a blockbuster Group F match in Munich.
France deserved the win, with both Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema having second-half goals disallowed for tight offside calls while Adrien Rabiot also hit the post for Les Bleus.
“It’s our first match, but this is a game that could have been a semi-final or a final and to take these three points in a group like this was important,” France coach Didier Deschamps told broadcaster M6.
Germany’s defeat turns up the pressure on them in what is coach Joachim Loew’s last tournament in charge before he steps down.
“France have shown they are one of the favourites and now we have to prove that too in the next game,” Germany’s Joshua Kimmich said.
– Ronaldo surpasses Platini –
Germany’s next game is against Portugal, the Euro 2016 winners who got off to the perfect start by beating Hungary 3-0 in Budapest on Tuesday.
Ronaldo marked the occasion by netting his 10th and 11th goals at European Championships, surpassing the previous record of nine held by France legend Michel Platini.
Portugal laboured for long periods in Budapest before Raphael Guerreiro made the breakthrough in the 84th minute.
Ronaldo then slammed in a penalty shortly afterwards before tapping home in injury time.
The 36-year-old has now scored at five different European Championship finals tournaments and has 106 goals for his country in total, leaving him just three away from matching Iranian Ali Daei’s all-time international scoring record of 109.
He broke the record before by far the biggest crowd of the tournament so far, with Budapest the only Euro 2020 venue not to limit fan capacity due to Covid-19.
The Puskas Arena has a capacity of almost 68,000 fans.
Back in Munich, a disaster was narrowly averted before the Germany game when a Greenpeace activist crash-landed on the pitch after his powered parachute microlight struck spidercam cables.
The pilot flew over the pitch with “Kick out oil” written on the canopy of his parachute, but when the pilot hit television cables above the pitch, it knocked his microlight off balance and he landed on the turf after clipping one of the stands.
“This inconsiderate act…caused injuries to several people attending the game who are now in hospital and law authorities will take the necessary action,” UEFA said.
Meanwhile in Copenhagen Christian Eriksen continued his recovery following his collapse in Denmark’s opening game against Finland last Saturday.
On Tuesday Eriksen published a photo of his tired but smiling face from his hospital bed.
“I’m fine — under the circumstances, I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay,” he wrote in a post on Instagram.
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