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Swiss up and running after overcoming Wales

Switzerland 4-1 Wales
Ottmar Hitzfeld's team recorded their first points in Group G with two goals in each half in Basel, Valentin Stocker scoring twice.

Swiss up and running after overcoming Wales
Swiss up and running after overcoming Wales ©UEFA.com

Switzerland finally got their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying up and running with a convincing victory against Wales, whose third consecutive Group G defeat leaves them bottom of the section without a point.

Marco Streller's 21st-minute strike sent the hosts in at the break in front after Gareth Bale's equaliser had cancelled out an early opener from Valentin Stocker. Gökhan Inler's 82nd-minute spot kick and a late second from Stocker means Ottmar Hitzfeld's team can now begin their pursuit of England and Montenegro in earnest, while Wales will seek to get off the mark when they resume their campaign in March.

Eight minutes had elapsed when Hitzfeld was up celebrating his side's opener. Stocker was the scorer, nodding in after Streller unselfishly headed across the rebound from Tranquillo Barnetta's initial strike. The Nati coach was soon back in the dugout, however, as Bale raced on to Andrew Crofts' through ball and finished confidently past Marco Wölfli, who had replaced the injured Diego Benaglio early on.

With Wales buoyant Wölfli made an impressive save from James Collins' header soon afterwards, a stop which proved to be crucial as Switzerland restored their lead on 21 minutes. Inler chipped to the lurking Streller, who sliced his volley into the corner. The FC Basel 1893 striker could have had his second before the break but for a challenge from Wales captain Ashley Williams.

Wales produced the opening chance of the second period when Darcy Blake's delivery was headed narrowly over by Andy King, but Blake almost cost his team a goal soon afterwards when he failed to react to Alex Frei's cross. Stocker did, but his powerful header was beaten away by Wayne Hennessey.

The visitors' determination was never in question in what was an open encounter throughout. Bale persistently foraged for an opening on the left and nearly forced in an equaliser on the back of a slaloming run as the game entered the closing stages. However, Inler's penalty following Christian Ribeiro's foul on Barnetta and Stocker's simple fourth ensured Brian Flynn's final game as caretaker boss ended in another disappointment.