Gareth Bale hoping Wales can silence fans when they take on Turkey in Baku

The 69,870-capacity Olympic Stadium will be almost half full with a crowd of around 34,000 expected.

Phil Blanche
Wednesday 16 June 2021 08:42
Euro 2020: Daily briefing

Gareth Bale says Wales plan to silence what will be effectively a home Turkey crowd in their Euro 2020 clash in Baku

In what is potentially a must-win clash for both sides as far as securing qualification for the last 16 is concerned, Turkey will have the vast majority of support inside Baku’s Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.

The 69,870-capacity stadium will be almost half full following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, with around 34,000 expected to be present.

Only a few hundred Wales supporters have gone against the advice of the Welsh Government and made the 3,000-mile trip to the shores of the Caspian Sea.

Thousands of Turkey fans are expected to make the relatively short journey to Baku, while the close ties between their country and Azerbaijan means the Crescent-Stars can also count on the support of the local population.

Captain Bale said: “Obviously we’d prefer to be playing in front of 34,000 Wales fans, but it’s not meant to be. You feed off the atmosphere. Of course they’re not saying great things, but I guess you want to silence them.

You feed off the atmosphere. Of course they're not saying great things, but I guess you want to silence them

Gareth Bale

“We’ll feel like the away team in an away stadium and you know you’re going to get a bit more abuse. All us footballers have dealt with it in the past, it’s the normal, and you enjoy it.

“If anything it kind of spurs us on to be a bit more ruthless on the pitch, and hopefully we can keep them silent.

Both sides are in need of points after failing to win their opening games.

Wales drew 1-1 with Switzerland in Baku, while Turkey were beaten 3-0 by group favourites Italy in Rome.

Interim manager Robert Page said: “We’ve not just watched the game against Italy, we’ve watched games going back over recent months.

“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’ve got players who can hurt teams.

“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.”

On the state of Group A before the second round of matches, Page added: “Turkey probably looked at the fixtures coming into the tournament and saw they had a very difficult opener against the favourites Italy.

“They’d be looking at our game to get the three points, and we’re fully prepared for that. But we’ll be going for the win and if you get four points from two games it sets us nicely.”