Euro 2012 qual. - Wales hammered by Swiss

Wed, 13 Oct 10:27:00 2010

Valentin Stocker hit a double as Switzerland beat Wales 4-1 to leave the Dragons' Euro 2012 dreams all but over.

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Stocker gave the hosts the lead after just eight minutes before Gareth Bale kept his cool to strike back five minutes later.

But Switzerland edged ahead again through Marco Streller's mishit volley after 21 minutes before Gökhan Inler and Stocker put the result beyond doubt in the final 10 minutes.

Switzerland started the game stranded at the bottom of Group G having suffered two defeats in their opening two games, but Wales were only above them courtesy of having a better goal difference.

But both sides played with an attacking threat that belied their lowly position at the early stage of this Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Switzerland were dealt a heavy blow when goalkeeper Diego Benaglio was forced off with a groin injury after just eight minutes.

But it was Wales' defence that was caught napping, with Tranquillo Barnetta allowed to unleash a shot which Wayne Hennessey could only parry. Streller latched onto the loose ball to head goalwards before Stocker stooped to head home.

Brian Flynn's troops hit back immediately when Andrew Crofts' tackle-cum-pass found Bale, who beat the offside trap before firing past Marco Wölfli.

Wales almost went in front three minutes later when Bale's corner was met by James Collins, whose towering header forced a fine save from Wölfli.

And Switzerland made Wales pay when Inler won the ball on the edge of the box before sliding through a lovely pass to Streller, who beat Hennessey despite scuffing his shot.

Bale was at the heart of every Wales attack but suffered at the hands of some strong Swiss challenges, with Stephan Lichtsteiner and Barnetta both booked for late challenges in the first half.

But that didn't stop the Tottenham man orchestrating every Wales attack in the second 45, with the visitors going close soon after the break when Andy King headed over.

Both sides continued to attack at will and Alexander Frei whipped in a beautiful ball from the right and, with Darcy Blake hesitant, the charging Stocker was denied by a smart stop by Hennessey.

Wolves stopper Hennessey almost turned the villain when his errant clearance fell at the feet of Streller, but the Basel striker's shot went wide.

Wales midfielder King was soon at the heart of the action again, heading across goal only to see Wölfli get to the ball a fraction ahead of Bale.

Wales were left to rue their missed opportunities when Barnetta went down under Crofts' challenge with eight minutes remaining before Inler coolly fired home from the spot.

And Stocker sealed the deal for Switzerland on 89 minutes after more sloppy defending by Wales, slamming home from close range after Eren Derdiyok broke on the right and squared across goal to subject Flynn's side to a third successive defeat.

George Scott / Eurosport

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