Manager Roy Hodgson sprang a surprise by
including Fabian Delph in the starting line-up having been impressed
by his energy as a substitute against Norway.
And in fact it was the Aston Villa player who featured in the
first major incident. The
referee had to have a stern warning with the youngster after a wild
challenge. Sadly Delph
didn't heed the warning and was booked a couple of minutes later for
another reckless challenge.
Not a good start, but to the player's credit, he then settled
down and contributed well to the rest of the game.
From the free-kick given away, Joe Hart made a good catch and
then produced the pass of the night with a kick out of his hands that
sent Raheem Sterling sprinting down the left-wing.
Sterling's cross was blocked but the ball ran to Jack Wilshere
and his fine deep cross found Wayne Rooney, with a volley a real
the skipper took an extra touch and the chance was lost.
By the 12th minute England were
looking pacey and determined and one excellent combination between the
lively Danny Welbeck and Rooney, teed up Sterling again, but his shot
went weakly wide of a post.
By this time you certainly sensed that England were growing in
confidence, and the whole side looked comfortable, with Switzerland
looking mystified by England's positive approach.
The first clear chance came on 15 minutes when
Sterling picked the ball up in space through the middle and ran at the
With Welbeck to the right and Rooney to his left Sterling had options,
he chose Rooney but the pass was poor and bobbled as Rooney got his
shot away. Yann Sommer
made an easy save, but it was a good sign.
Rooney already looked as though he was much more his old self
and the skipper was full of running and energy.
Two minutes later though, a mistake by Leighton
Baines almost led to a Swiss strike at goal.
Baines lost possession on the halfway line and two quick passes
gave Haris Severovic a chance to run at goal.
There was a coming together between the number nine and Phil
Jones as the England player tried to defend and both players went down
to screams for a penalty from the crowd, but that would have been very
harsh on Jones. Just
afterwards Baines made up for his lapse with a vital interception
which stopped another Swiss attack.
On 27 minutes Baines was involved again as he and
Welbeck combined well down the left.
The full-back's cross was met too full on by Rooney and his
header went wide when a glancing effort might have produced more, but
it was a good attack and more evidence of the growing England
confidence. Two minutes
later and England's best chance so far, as a brilliant interception
and run by Welbeck saw him scampering down the right before trying to
set up the onrushing Sterling.
Alas the final pass was again not quite right and the ball flew
wide, much to the disgust of Sterling and Rooney, who was at the far
post waiting for a tap-in.
Switzerland then had a clear chance on 32 minutes
when a corner was only half cleared and Stephan Lichtsteiner had a
free shot at goal from 20 yards.
Luckily for England the ball flew over the bar.
A minute later and the home side had their best chance so far.
Jones gave away possession with a poor pass and Xherdan
Shaqiri's quick touch sent Seferovic in.
Hart was down brilliantly though, spread himself well and
blocked the shot with his outstretched leg.
After that incident England came back strongly with Baines and
Rooney prominent, and then Baines and Delph gave the ball to Rooney
who cut inside and hit a good shot which Sommer somehow scooped away.
From the resultant corner by Rooney, Jones came charging in to
meet the ball with a fine downwards header.
It looked a goal until Sommer produced a fine diving save to
thwart the Manchester United defender.
Shortly afterwards the half-time whistle blew and the only
worry for Hodgson was in the number of chances England had missed.
Early on, after the restart, Wilshere ventured
forward to hit a deflected shot wide and then Jordan Henderson played
a lovely one, two with Sterling, but the latter shot wide.
That was another clear chance and these misses were mounting
up. Sterling's miskick
almost brought an own goal as the ball deflected off Shaqiri's shins
for a corner. At the other
end Gary Cahill was in fine form and England were generally
comfortable in defence.
But that doesn't mean that Switzerland did not create chances and from
one lay-off by Granit Xhaka, Severovic fired in a volley which Hart
did really well to tip over.
The goalkeeper had been really sharp throughout, and that was
another excellent moment for him.
At this point Switzerland were showing signs of increasing
momentum, but England came up with the perfect answer to that.
Welbeck forced an error and the ball dropped to
Rooney on the halfway line.
Welbeck, Rooney and Sterling burst forward at top speed and
Rooney fed the ball for Sterling to run onto down the left-wing.
A first time low cross to the far post and there was Welbeck
to, at last, convert an England chance.
It went in off his shin but no-one really cared as the ball
nestled in the back of the Swiss net.
The look of joy on the faces of the England players said it
That visibly knocked the stuffing out of the home
side and there was only one further scare for England.
On 70 minutes substitute Josip Drmic was clean through.
He rounded Hart and a goal seemed certain, but from nowhere
Cahill made a brilliant clearance away for a corner.
There was a hint of handball from the Chelsea man, but justice
was done because replays clearly showed that Drmic was offside anyway.
To be honest, it's about time England had a bit of good luck
for a change!
decided to send on James Milner for Wilshere, just to try and shore up
the middle, and shortly afterwards Phil Jagielka came on for Jones who
had taken a knock. There
was a danger that England would sit back too far at this stage but
Switzerland had started to run out of ideas, so it was actually quite
a comfortable last ten minutes for England.
On 81 minutes a great break saw Henderson gallop down the right
and his cross was pawed out by the keeper, but only to Delph just
inside the box. As he
tried to adjust his feet for a shot, a lunge by defender Johan Djourou
took him and the ball out.
Penalties have been given for far less than that challenge, that is
for sure. Other chances
came and went at both ends, with Hart saving well from a deflected
shot and Sterling shooting over from another good burst.
The final substitution saw Lambert sent on for Rooney and in
the fourth minute of added time the Liverpool striker made his mark.
England cleared a corner and Sterling gained possession and ran
at speed towards the Swiss goal.
He found Lambert and the big man cleverly held possession
before laying the ball off to Welbeck.
This time the new Arsenal striker stayed cool, took aim, and
buried the ball beyond Sommer!!
This was a fine start to England's Euro campaign,
it wasn't perfect by any means, but there were so many positives and
lots of fine individual performances.
The players looked really determined for each other and for
once, and this was great to see, the England lads looked as though
they really enjoyed the match, and there were more smiles after this
game than there has been for a very long time.
A terrific win and an excellent performance, which now sets up
the group table nicely as we move on.