Leading Group A with nine points, Italy’s victory in Rome thanks to Matteo Pessina’s first-half goal means the Azzurri have yet to concede a goal in the tournament and arguably have been the the most outstanding team in the group stage matches.
The game-winning goal came with seven minutes left in the first half when Pessina gave Marco Verratti a free kick in the bottom corner in front of a tense Danny Ward.
Wales, surprise Euro 2016 semi-finalists, also had to play most of the second half with 10 men after Ethan Ampadu received a red card for a late challenge on Federico Bernardeschi.
However, the defeat did not stop Wales from placing second in the group to reach the round of 16, once again beating their weight in a major tournament.
Robert Page’s side finished tied on points with Switzerland, who beat Turkey 3-1 in Baku, Azerbaijan on Sunday, but placed second with a greater goal difference.
“We knew it would be a very difficult game from the start. There was a lot of defense, a lot of racing. There are some very tired bodies there,” Welsh captain Gareth Bale told ITV.
“I’m proud of the boys. We wanted to try to get a result but I guess it didn’t make any difference, we still finished second.”
Switzerland will have to wait and see if their four points will be enough to qualify for the round of 16 as one of the best thirds in the tournament in the group stage.
Four third-ranked teams will join the winners and finalists of each group in the round of 16.
This is the best Swiss result of the tournament so far, thanks to a goal from Haris Seferovic and a brace from Xherdan Shaqiri.
Seferovic gave Switzerland an early lead with a low left-footed strike, before Shaqiri doubled his side’s advantage 20 minutes later with a superb shot from the edge of the box.
Turkey responded with a fine second-half goal when Irfan Can Kahveci scored a long-range shot just past the hour mark, but Switzerland restored their two-goal lead minutes later as Shaqiri slipped away. hooked to Steven Zuber’s excellent deep ball.
The result means Turkey’s disappointing Euro 2020 campaign ends with three losses.
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