A Danny Welbeck double ensured that England started their Euro campaign in the best possible manner yesterday evening. Roy Hodgson saw the away game to the Swiss as potentially their hardest game in qualifying and had voiced his wish for more preparation time with his players before the game. However, a resilient performance by his side saw them come through with a two nil victory and they now look early favourites for top place in Group E.
Webeck was in for the injured Daniel Sturridge and #Aston Villa's Fabian Delph was given a debut to replace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as the only changes from the Norway friendly. Delph in particular looked keen to get involved in the game, maybe a little too strongly though as two crunching tackles resulted in an early caution.
The higher ranked Swiss had their chances during the first half. Valon Behrami was combative in midfield, World Cup hat trick hero Xherdan Shaqiri was a constant threat and but for a smart save by Joe Hart when Haris Seferovic had been released inside the box they could have had the lead at the break.
England finally made their edge count on 58 minutes as Rooney broke in the Swiss half and timed his pass to the left to Sterling inch perfectly. The Liverpool man crossed first time to the back post for Welbeck to shin the ball into the net. The newly acquired Arsenal man has a good overall scoring record with the national side, although this was his first goal in a year for his country, and he showed it again with that well taken finish.
The Swiss came back at their opponents and must have expected an equaliser when Josip Drmic rounded Hart, only for Gary Cahill to get back goal side and slide brilliantly to put the ball behind for a corner. Swiss protestations for a handball were turned away and England survived the scare.
It proved a defining moment as sub Rickie Lambert provided the assist to play in Welbeck in the closing minutes. He held his nerve to coolly slide the ball past the onrushing keeper and into the side of the net. Two nil to England and for once some positive headlines for Hodgson to wake up to the day after. #Football