Switzerland gave themselves a superb chance of qualifying for the last 16 of Euro 2020 as one of the best third-placed sides with a superb victory that sends Turkey home without a point to their name.
Needing a win in Baku to stand any chance of progression, the Swiss produced by far their best display of the tournament – one that could and probably should have yielded a bigger and more rewarding win.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Haris Seferovic were the goalscoring heroes, silencing those who had questioned their places in the side with a collection of fine goals, all of them assisted by Steven Zuber.
The first of Shaqiri’s brace – to make it 2-0 in the first half – was especially good, the Liverpool man curling in from the edge of the box.
Equally as important was Yann Sommer in the Swiss goal, who produced a string of good saves to keep a much-improved Turkey at bay, especially in the first half.
At the other end, Ugurcan Cakir was just as impressive, saving numerous times to frustrate a Swiss side who knew that a Wales loss in Italy and a five-goal swing would give them second in the group.
Turkey were able to score their first goal of the tournament and a fine one it was too, Irfan Can Kahveci smashing in a long-range drive to briefly narrow the score to 2-1.
But having been many people’s ill-judged dark horses for the tournament, they exit with a humbling zero points and a goal difference of minus seven.
Switzerland must now wait for the group games to be completed to see if their efforts will be enough to send them through.
Switzerland makes amends for poor start
Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic penned an open letter to fans before Sunday’s game, apologising for their defeat to Italy earlier in the week, saying he and his players were “sorry from the bottom of our hearts”.
Their display in Baku was every bit that of a side looking to amends, led by two of the players that had come in for the most criticism from fans back home – Seferovic and Shaqiri.
The pair’s goals were superb – the first a low, precise strike into the far bottom corner of the net from Seferovic, the second a brilliant, curling shot from a central position beyond the dive of Cakir from Shaqiri, who then finished first time at the end of a ruthless counter-attack soon after Turkey’s goal.
Although, in a game of stunning strikes, Kahveci’s drive into the top corner – the midfielder’s first international goal – has a very good case for being the best of the lot.
With Wales having fallen behind in Italy, it set up the possibility of a late Swiss dart for second place, but the stubbornness of Robert Page’s men in Rome to keep their game to a 1-0 defeat and no further goals here ended that.
It was something of a miracle that there were only four goals in Baku, with the teams producing a remarkable 41 attempts at goal between them.
Since 1980, this is only the second game to see both sides have 10 or more shots in the opening 45 minutes of a Euros match, with Switzerland also involved in the other – a last-16 tie with Poland in 2016.
The two goalkeepers had the biggest role to play in this, with Sommer invincible in the first half and Cakir a near brick wall in the second.
Zuber could well have had a hat-trick of goals to go with his three assists but for the Turkish number 23.