Great Britain

Pembrokeshire star Joe Allen hopeful Wales can make it through

JOE Allen - a former pupil at Ysgol y Preseli in Crymych - has backed his Wales team to make it through the group stages of Euro 2020.

Wales will be aiming to "silence" what will effectively be a home crowd for Turkey when they meet in Baku today (Wednesday, ko 5pm BST).

Turkey and Azerbaijan are close geopolitical allies, and at least 30,000 fans are expected to be at the Baku Olympic Stadium for their second group game.

Allen played in the opening group match on Saturday, as Wales fought back to draw 1-1 with Switzerland in their opening game in Baku.

The 31 year-old Stoke City player partnered Joe Morrell in defensive central midfield role in a 4-2-3-1 line up, protecting the back four.

Kieffer Moore netted a vital 74th minute equaliser for Rob Page's side, after Breel Embolo had headed the Swiss ahead on 49 minutes.

Such was the intensity of the late Swiss pressure, a draw felt like a relief for Wales, but they will feel they need a result against Turkey, ahead of their final group game against Italy in Rome on Sunday.

After Turkey were crushed 3-0 by Italy in Friday's tournament opener, Wales' second match is vital in their bid the knockout stages.

Allen, one of eight players in the 26-man squad who helped Wales reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals, says Wales can make it through.

"They want to make their mark and show what they can do and showcase their talent," Allen, from Narberth, said of the younger class of 2021.

"That is one of the great strengths they have, they are fearless and ambitious to do well and they are really, really keen to show that.

"I think technically throughout the whole squad, there is a bit more flair, a bit more creativity and a few more attacking dimensions.

"I think we have players with pace, we have players who can find a pass and can create things out of nothing.

"We have different traits this time around, and I think everyone wants to show what we they do, in maybe a different way."

Turkey came into the competition on the back of a six-game unbeaten run and were highly fancied by many to do well at Euro 2020.

“We’ve not just watched their game against Italy, we’ve watched games going back over recent months,” said interim manager Robert Page.

“The personnel has changed, but we’re up against a very good team.

“We’ve identified where they are good but it stops there, because we look at ourselves and we’ve got players who can hurt teams.”

He added: "We’ve got a game plan we want to stick to, one that we think can cause Turkey problems.

“Any opposing manager that looks at that team sheet is going to respect what we’ve got out there and can pose them a threat.

“We got off to a positive start to get a point. To fall behind against a very good Swiss team – there’s a lot of positives to come out of that."

The top two sides in each of the competition's six groups, as well as the four best third-placed teams, will qualify for the second round.

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