SWITZERLAND ensured they remain in contention for a place in the knockout rounds of the Euros after recording a routine victory over Turkey. However, the result could yet reverberate beyond Group A.

By winning by two goals, the Swiss finished the group stages with four points and with a goal difference of minus one but crucially, they have four goals to their name. That means that a 1-0 win for Scotland over Croatia could prove to be not enough for Steve Clarke’s men to reach the last 16 – if the cut-off point to find the fourth best third-placed team came down to Groups A and D, the Swiss would advance on goals scored at Scotland’s expense.

The Turks knew they were all but out of the competition anyway: this contest in Baku was simply about restoring a modicum of pride to Senol Gunes’ underwhelming side. Tipped by some as dark horses to go all the way, the youngest squad at this summer’s championships have arguably been their greatest disappointment.

To be fair, the attacking intent on show from Turkey was lightyears ahead of what they’d shown previously against Wales and the Italians – not that that that’s saying much – as they looked to bow out on a high note. The problem, though, is that they were up against a Switzerland side who had to win – and win convincingly – to boost their own hopes of making it through to the last 16.

Like Turkey, Vladimir Petkovic’s men hadn’t come close to reproducing their form from qualifying when it really mattered up until this point. The stuffy, uninspired performances that have been on show are fairly typical of what the Swiss tend to bring to the finals of major tournaments. Since 2008, they have only failed to qualify for one tournament (Euro 2012) but it’s hard to recall anything of note or mild interest achieved in that time.

One thing we do know that we get from the Swiss, though, is that Liverpool midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri will score a sublime goal at some point or another. Watching the 29-year-old, nicknamed ‘Thundercube’ as a youngster due to his boxy frame and energetic playing style, arrow one into the top corner has become as much a staple of summer football as tone-deaf players bellowing out national anthems or English pundits declaring ‘football’s coming home’ after scraping a 1-0 win in their opening fixture.

We had to wait a while for Shaqiri to make his mark at this Euros but as usual, it was well worth it. Switzerland had already taken an early lead through Haris Seferovic when the Benfica forward peeled away from the Turkish defence, making the most of the space afforded to him by drilling an unstoppable shot into the side-netting from the edge of the area with only five minutes played.

As we approached the midway point in the first half, Shaqiri’s time had arrived. Again, the No.10 was afforded plenty of time to map out his plan of attack and the execution was beyond reproach. Lashing the ball from the edge of the dee, it zoomed over the head of the helpless Ugurcan Çakır as it thundered into the back of the net.

It was a strike worthy of winning any game and understandably, Turkish heads dropped in the aftermath. They had the odd opportunity from distance as they went about reducing the arrears – left-back Mert Mulder’s superb marauding run down the flank followed by a 25-yard thunderbolt forced a terrific stop from Swiss stalwart Yann Sommer at the end of the first half – but in truth, the occasions where they seriously troubled the Swiss were few and far between as they bowed out with a whimper.

Until, that is, İrfan Kahveci took matters into his own hands. Not to be outdone by Shaqiri’s moment of magic, the ball was eventually worked to the Fenerbache playmaker on the right of the Switzerland area. A neat first touch fashioned a sight of goal and the 25-year-old required no second invitation, curling a magnificent shot into the roof of the net with an hour played.

If that intervention raised Turkish spirits, they were soon brought back down to earth in mercilessly abrupt fashion. Gunes’ men had pushed players forward in search of an equaliser when Steven Zuber played an inviting cross-field ball to Shaqiri, who blasted the ball home first-time with glee to put the result beyond any doubt.