All or nothing for Switzerland and Turkey
It is likely to be win or bust for both Switzerland and Turkey on matchday three in Group A, presenting an epic stage that otherwise may not be possible without the much criticised third place qualification rule. Turkey need a resounding win to throw their names in the hat to progress, sitting on zero points and a -5 goal difference. The fourth and final third place qualification spot was taken by Northern Ireland in Euro 2016 was earned with a three point tally and a goal difference of zero, Turkey will need a five goal swing to achieve that. With that state of play the impetus is on the Swiss who will feel hard done by not to have won their opening match against Wales.
Switzerland have a very astute starting eleven, but limited squad depth, they have struggled in front of goal in recent years. Breel Embolo was a constant threat against the Welsh although outside of the Borussia Monchengladbach ace their chance creation was minimal. Experienced wideman Admir Mehmedi has not played a minute yet in the tournament but has the knowhow to open up a back four, the 3-4-1-2 system adopted so far has limited the width of the side, with a lot of stress of Kevin Mbabu flying forward from right wing back. Mbabu and Mehmedi play for the same club side, Wolfsburg, their relationship could be the best way to make some breakthroughs with Haris Seferovic looking pretty ineffective in the opening two encounters. Talisman Xherdan Shaqiri has also struggled, possibly easier to pick up in the number ten role with other countries now completely aware of his ability from range.
It is a free hit now for Turkey more or less, the fans will have all but given up hope of progressing after the loss to Wales. The decrease in weight of expectation should allow them to play a lot more freely which I expect to work in their favour. They have some tremendous attacking talents in the form of Hakan Calhanoglu and Cengiz Under, Switzerland will have to be on their game to get the win here.
With Vladimir Petkovic’s men looking toothless going forward, once again I believe using the Asian Handicap provides our best angle into this one. If the score is level late on it could become very open and so I see value in a goal headstart for Turkey, with this selection offering a winner should they win or draw and our stake returning if they lose by a single goal.