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Wales vs Switzerland: Five things we learned as Kieffer Moore snatches Group A point

·3-min read
 (Pool via REUTERS)
(Pool via REUTERS)

Wales earned a point with a 1-1 draw against Switzerland in their opening match of Euro 2020 at the Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan.

Embolo powered a header in from a set piece early in the second half, giving the Swiss a deserved lead before Kieffer Moore’s equaliser sent Welsh fans into raptures.

In a scoreless first half, Yann Sommer made an excellent save to deny Kieffer Moore while Wales were perhaps lucky to not concede a penalty when Chris Mepham had a hold of Embolo’s shirt.

Switzerland dominated for much of the match and Embolo’s pace and power meant he was a constant thorn in Wales’ side, and he teed up Mbabu moments after the opening goal only for the full back to tamely miss.

Wales came close themselves, with Ben Davies blazing over while Aaron Ramsey’s delightful free kick was begging to be put in the back of the net before Moore’s equaliser - and the Welsh survived a late VAR scare for good measure.

Here are five things we learned from the Group A match in Azerbaijan.

Former-Magpie Mbabu impresses

Kevin Mbabu was at Newcastle United from 2013 to 2017 and made just three league appearances as a young footballer at the start of his career.

He spent two years out on loan at Rangers and BSC Young Boys before signing for the latter permanently. Now, the right back plies his trade in Germany with Wolfsburg.

However, if Mbabu continues to perform as he did against Wales you can bet that bigger clubs will be sniffing around the 26-year-old. He bombed forward down the right at will, and effectively dealt with the threat of James.

Moore and James shine

All of the talk in the build-up to the game was of Wales attempting to rekindle the spirit and performances from Euro 2016, but all in all this was a pretty turgid performance from Rob Page’s side.

There was no real attacking threat aside from James’ counter-attacking runs and the early header from Moore, and it looked like they needed inspiration off the bench.

Instead, Moore came to the rescue with his late equaliser – and his physical threat was needed.

Embolo looking to finally make good on potential

A constant menace up front for Switzerland, Breel Embolo has been hyped as a star in the making for years.

He has struggled to match such plaudits on the field, but his direct running and unique combination of pace and power was excellent to watch.

He scored a deserved goal and almost got a brilliant assist moments later, only for Mbabu to strike wide.

Day to forget for captain Bale

The Welsh captain and star player had the fewest touches of any player on the pitch in the first half.

The situation didn’t improve for him in the second period, as he struggled to make an impact in any shape or form.

Dan James had his moments going forward and was Wales’ most dangerous threat – which doesn’t exactly place Bale or Ramsey in the best light.

Wales’ attacking stars make important defensive contributions

All three of Wales’ three behind Moore – particularly Aaron Ramsey and Dan James – each made key defensive interventions.

Ramsey dropped back to aid the defensive effort and made a number of big challenges, while James made an incredible run back to cut off a potential through ball from Xherdan Shaqiri towards Mbabu when the Swiss were countering.

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