Two wins from two
Tuesday, 07 September, 2010
England record impressive 3-1 victory over Switzerland in Basel.
Stuart Mawhinney in Basel
England made it two wins from two in their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a confident 3-1 away to Switzerland.
After a 4-0 dismissal of Bulgaria on Friday evening, it took the visitors just ten minutes to take the lead in Basel through Wayne Rooney, who turned home Glen Johnson's low centre.
Substitute Adam Johnson, who replaced Theo Walcott after the Arsenal man got injured in the build up to the opening goal, doubled the advantage in the second half with a cool finish from Steven Gerrard's cute pass.
Just minutes after Stephan Lichtsteiner had been awarded a second yellow card, Switzerland’s own sub, Xherdan Shaqiri, halved the deficit with a wonderful left-foot strike from distance which gave Joe Hart no chance.
However, Darren Bent replaced Jermain Defoe and sealed the win with two minutes to go, finishing well from Ashley Cole’s pass.
England have now garnered maximum points from their opening two qualifiers and have produced two confident performances.
It was Rooney who got England on their way to reward a vibrant start.
Glen Johnson broke free down the right flank for the second time inside the first ten minutes and this time his cross was met by a white shirt and the visitors took the lead.
Defoe's movement again played a part as he took the Swiss defender away from the arriving Rooney, but the sight of Walcott down injured tempered the celebrations somewhat. The Arsenal winger, in fantastic form for his club, turned his ankle as he tried to reach Johnson's cross and was forced to leave the field on a stretcher.
Johnson came on to replace him, and brought the Eastland club's England total to five – this tally would grow to six when Shaun Wright-Phillips entered the fray late on.
With 20 minutes on the clock the substitute almost provide a second goal with a superb turn of pace. Receiving the ball from Glen Johnson, Adam spun in a fluid movement showing great pace to outstrip Reto Ziegler and square the ball for Defoe who shot wide.
Rooney and Defoe then combined superbly and on a drier pitch the lofted through pass to release the Tottenham striker would have held up instead of skipping through to Benaglio in the Swiss goal.
Then Defoe saw two chances flash across goal in the space of 30 seconds, the first from Cole and the second from Milner.
Chances were coming thick and fast for England and not getting the second goal was always a worry, as proved when David Degen volleyed over following a an Alexander Frei free-kick on the edge of the area.
Just before half-time Defoe saw a snap shot parried by Benaglio. Taking another sublime pass from Rooney down on his chest, Defoe swivelled one way then the next to create space for a right-footed shot, but the Swiss 'keeper was in the right place to fist the ball away.
Adam Johnson then slalomed his way through three Swiss defenders and found Rooney, who took the ball around Benaglio but was taken too far wide. The Manchester United striker stood up a cross to the back post but Defoe was out jumped.
The two Johnsons provided the first chances on goal in the second period, first Adam volleyed wide from a cross-field pass by Rooney, then Glen forced a fingertip save from Benaglio with a vicious left-footed effort.
England escaped by the skin of their teeth on three occasions on the hour mark as Switzerland grew in belief. On each chance luck was on the side of the visitors, and Hart in particular.
With 65 minutes played Adam Johnson sent Milner free down the left and when he skipped past Lichtsteiner, the full-back stuck out a leg and earned a second yellow.
With the home side down to ten men, England were about to lose another player to injury as Defoe was replaced by Bent. Before the Sunderland striker was able to take the field England had doubled the lead through Adam Johnson.
Gerrard threaded the ball superbly and Johnson timed his run perfectly, rounding the 'keeper and scoring his second goal in as many games for England.
If anyone thought the two goal advantage and extra man would halt any comeback from the home side Shakiri had other ideas, lashing in a left-footed strike from all of 30 yards.
Wright-Phillips spurned a golden chance with five minutes left on the clock, beating the offside trap he was unable to find Bent on the penalty spot when a simple tap in awaited him.
It mattered not as two minutes later Cole found Bent and he powered a left-footed shot into the bottom corner to seal a well earned victory for England on the road.
Six points from the opening two games, the perfect way to start the qualification campaign for Euro 2012.