Watmore the difference as England U21s beat Switzerland

Monday 16 Nov 2015
Duncan Watmore's (No16) introduction was the catalyst for England's win

England Under-21s ended 2015 on a high when three late goals sealed a 3-1 victory against Switzerland in Brighton.

It looked as though Gareth Southgate’s side were going to suffer a frustrating night, as the Swiss took a fortuitous first-half lead and then held the Three Lions at bay until the last 10 minutes.

And after dominating possession throughout, England were rewarded for their persistence with three goals to turn the game on its head.

England 3-1 Switzerland

UEFA European U21 Championship
Qualifying Group 9
Monday 16 November 2015
Amex Stadium, Brighton
Live on BT Sport
Click here for match stats

Substitute Duncan Watmore was the catalyst and after being introduced in the 82nd minute, he produced exactly what Southgate’s men needed with his pace and direct approach.

Firstly, he was tripped in the box for the penalty to set captain James Ward-Prowse up for the equaliser, before he struck his side ahead two minutes later.

And he wasn’t finished there, as his late run into the box ended up with a perfect assist to help fellow sub Chuba Akpom collect his second goal in two games.

The Three Lions had made a high-tempo start, and Brighton’s own Solly March almost brought the roof off the Amex in the eighth minute when he hit a rising shot narrowly over, after a Matt Targett cross had only been half-cleared.

Lewis Baker then forced Swiss keeper Yvon Nganoma into his first save of the evening when Chelsea team-mates Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Dom Solanke combined well on the break to set him up, but Baker's effort was comfortably stopped.

The visitors remained resolute and restricted England’s opportunities before starting to feel their own way into the game.

They even had the ball in the net too, but Haris Tabakovic’s strike after a nice chest and turn was ruled out with the big striker flagged offside.

Dominic Solanke in action against Switzerland

Dom Solanke in action against Switzerland

There were gasps of relief in the 32nd minute, too, as Leonardo Bertone’s pass through was just inches away from picking out Tabakovic unmarked in the box.

And with half time just seconds away, England were stunned as the Swiss edged ahead with Shani Tarashaj beating Calum Chambers to a long ball over the top and then lobbing over a fully committed Jordan Pickford into the empty goal to put his side ahead.

The Grasshopper Zurich man took a whack from Pickford in the process and was stretchered off as the half time whistle was sounded and replaced by Joel Unterseel.

After the break, England continued to enjoy the lion’s share of the ball without really threatening to get beyond the Swiss rearguard.

With the hour-mark approaching, Southgate introduced Akpom from the bench to partner Solanke up front and find more penetration in their forward play.

He was soon joined from the bench by Watmore, who almost scored with his first touch when the ball fell to him in the area only for his looping shot to drop over.

But he made the desired impact soon after, as he was tripped in the box by Nganoma with the resulting penalty duly tucked away by Ward-Prowse to set up a blockbuster finish.

Duncan Watmore tripped for England

Watmore was tripped for England's penalty

And it was Watmore who proved decisive, by lashing home a right-footer from 20 yards which took a deflection and found its way into the bottom corner past a despairing Nganoma.

He wasn’t finished there either, as he galloped past Hadergjonnaj from the left to pick out Akpom for the killer goal to see England enter 2016 on top of their group.

England (4-4-1-1): 1 Jordan Pickford (Preston North End, loan from Sunderland); 2 Dominic Iorfa (Wolverhampton Wanderers), 5 Calum Chambers (Arsenal), 6 Nathaniel Chalobah (Napoli, loan from Chelsea), 3 Matt Targett (Southampton); 11 Solly March (Brighton & Hove Albion), 8 James Ward-Prowse (C; Southampton), 4 Lewis Baker (Vitesse Arnhem, loan from Chelsea), 7 John Swift (Brentford, loan from Chelsea); 10 Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea); 9 Dominic Solanke(Vitesse Arnhem, loan from Chelsea)

Substitutes: 17 Chuba Akpom (Hull City, loan from Arsenal) for March 58, 16 Duncan Watmore (Sunderland) for Loftus-Cheek 82, 15 Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton & Hove Albion) for Solanke 85

Substitutes not used: 12 Ola Aina (Chelsea), 13 Christian Walton (Brighton & Hove Albion), 14 Baily Cargill (AFC Bournemouth), 18 Cauley Woodrow (Fulham).

Head coach: Gareth Southgate

Goals: Ward-Prowse (p) 83, Watmore 85, Akpom 90+1

Cautions: Ward-Prowse 81, Chalobah 81

Switzerland (4-5-1): 1 Yvon Nganoma (C); 2 Florent Hadergjonaj, 4 Manuel Akanji, 5 Levent Gulen, 3 Martin Angha;  11 Shani Tarashaj, 8 Lemi Zakaria, 10 Musa Araz, 6 Leonardo Bertone, 7 Lopes Garcia; 9 Haris Tabakovic

Substitutes: 14 Joel Untersee for Tarashaj 46, 15 Olivier Custodio for Araz 62

Substitutes not used: 12 Mirko Salvi, 13 Kwesi Wuthrich, 16 Daniel Follonier, 17 Salim Khelifi, 18 Albian Ajeti.

Head coach: Moser Heinz

Goals: Tarashaj 45

Cautions: Bertone 81, Unterseel 89

Referee: Andreas Ekberg (Sweden)

Attendance: 12,003

Watch highlights of the game from the Amex Stadium


By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels at the Amex Stadium, Brighton