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Euro 2012: Switzerland 4-1 Wales

Gareth Bale (centre) is left dejected following Wales' defeat
Gareth Bale (centre) is left dejected following Wales' defeat

By David Dulin

Wales' Euro 2012 qualifying hopes seem to be over after three games following a defeat in Switzerland that left them bottom of Group G and without a point.

They were behind after eight minutes from a Valentin Stocker header, before the brilliant Gareth Bale levelled by coolly finishing past Marco Wolfli.

Switzerland were back in front soon after when Streller was free to slice home a shot.

Gökhan Inler converted a controversial penalty before Stocker added a fourth.

The scoreline was harsh on Wales who put in a spirited display, but they were unable to convert their chances.

Ottmar Hitzfeld's Switzerland on the other hand, took theirs and exposed a fragile Welsh defence.

It is the first time in a European Championships qualifying campaign that Wales have lost their opening three games.

Now they would need a miraculous turn of events to have any hope of achieving something in the group.

And it will not have helped caretaker-manager Brian Flynn's hopes of getting the job on a full-time basis after defeats in his two games in charge.

He did have 10 players missing from his original squad selection though, but that has been a common problem for Wales over the last few years.

The depleted Wales side started brightly and Bale set up Andy King inside two minutes when he cut back from the by-line but the Leicester midfielder put his effort wide under pressure from six yards.

They were then given a boost five minutes later when Switzerland goalkeeper Diego Benaglio was forced off with a recurrence of a groin injury.

But the substitution seemed to work against Wales as they switched off to a long free-kick which allowed Tranquillo Barnetta in to fire at Wayne Hennessey.

The Wolves stopper could only parry the shot and it eventually fell to Stocker to head home.

Wales rallied though and were level on 12 minutes after Andrew Croft's tackle in the centre circle turned into a pass that released Bale, who coolly slotted past substitute keeper Wolfli and into the bottom corner.

They should have been ahead soon after when Aston Villa's James Collins headed through a crowd of players from a corner, but Wolfli reacted well to push it away.

And then Simon Church felt he should have had a corner from a shot, and from the resulting goal-kick, Switzerland went on to retake the lead.

Switzerland players celebrate taking the lead
Switzerland players celebrate taking the lead against Wales

Again the Wales defence was caught sleeping and Udinese midfielder Inler chipped through to Streller in the box, who was played onside by James Collins and the FC Basel striker sliced the ball past Hennessey.

But Wales responded again in a pulsating first half and Reading's Church was played in by David Vaughan but could only find the side netting from eight yards.

Bale was causing most of the problems for the Swiss defence and had to take a number of hefty challenges for his efforts.

Wales' defensive problems though were mostly self-inflicted and captain Ashley Williams almost let in Streller in the closing stages when he misjudged a ball but managed to recover in time to block the shot.

The game remained open after the restart and too much so for the Welsh defence when debutant Darcy Blake allowed Alexander Frei's cross to bounce and Valentin Stocker sneaked in to power a header at Hennessey.

That was Blake's last contribution as he was replaced by Bristol City's Christian Ribeiro.

But Wales were almost caught out again when Hennessey miss-kicked a clearance and Streller could only put his chance wide.

Bale was still causing problems at the other end and Church also had half-chances as Wales tried to get back into the game.

Their hopes were ended though 10 minutes from time when Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Barnetta went down very easily under the challenge of Ribeiro and Inler converted the penalty.

And in the closing stages Stocker grabbed his second goal, slotting home substitute Eren Derdiyok's cross from six yards to give Switzerland their first points of the campaign.


Switzerland: Benaglio (Wolfli 8), Lichtsteiner, Ziegler, Von Bergen, Grichting, Schwegler (Fernandes 90), Barnetta, Inler, Stocker, Frei (Derdiyok 78), Streller.
Subs Not Used: Affolter, Yakin, Degen, Shaqiri.

Booked: Barnetta.

Goals: Stocker 8, Streller 21, Inler 82 pen, Stocker 89.

Wales: Hennessey, Blake (Ribeiro 54), James Collins, Williams, Danny Collins, Crofts, Edwards (Morison 77), King, Bale, Vaughan (MacDonald 88), Church.
Subs Not Used: Cornell, Morgan, Taylor, Doble.

Booked: King.

Goals: Bale 13.

Att: 38,500

Ref: Alain Hamer (Luxembourg).



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see also
Bale is key for Wales - Williams
12 Oct 10 |  Welsh
Wales need qualifying 'miracle'
10 Oct 10 |  Welsh
Flynn rues 'damaging' Wales loss
09 Oct 10 |  Welsh
Williams hurting after Wales loss
08 Oct 10 |  Welsh
Wales 0-1 Bulgaria
08 Oct 10 |  Welsh
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Welsh
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Welsh
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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