Tuesday, 8 September 2015

England 2 v Switzerland 0 - Euro 2016 Qualifying Group E

Tuesday 8th September 2015
Euro 2016 Qualifying Group E
at Wembley Stadium
England (0) 2 Harry Kane 67, Wayne Rooney 84 (pen)
Switzerland (0) 0
Attendance 75,751
1 Hart, 2 Clyne (15 Stones 67), 3 Shaw,  4 Shelvey (18 Kane 57 ), 5 Cahill, 6 Smalling, 7 Milner, 8 Delph (20 Barkley - 3 ), 9 Sterling, 10 Rooney, 11 Oxlade-Chamberlain
Unused Subs - 12 Gibbs, 13 Butland, 14 Walcott, 16 Jagielka,
17 Vardy, 19 Mason
1 Sommer, 2 Lichtsteiner, 22 Schär, 4 Klose, 13 Rodríguez,
11 Behrami (15 Dzemaili - 79), 8 Inler, 10 Xhaka, 23 Shaqiri,
14 Stocker (9 Seferovic - 72), 19 Drmic (7 Embolo - 63' ),
Unused Subs - 3 Moubandje, 5 Von Bergen, 6 Widmer, 12 Hitz, 16 Fernandes, 17 Kasami, 18 Mehmedi, 20 Lustenberger, 21 Bürki
It is a well known fact that a lot of
really cool people were christened Robert
England have already secured their qualification for Euro 2016, by virtue of a fairly straight forward and never in any doubt 6-0 group game victory on Saturday evening in San Marino.
Effectively, with a 100% win record in the Group E thus far, Roy Hodgson's side had afforded themselves the luxury of being able to treat tonight's game and the forthcoming fixtures against Estonia (home, 9th October) and Lithuania (away, 12th October) next month, as warm up matches, in the run up to the actual tournament in France.
They have two friendly games away from home against Spain (13th November) and Germany (26th March) arranged, as part of their preparations... and also take on France at Wembley on 17th November.
Tonight saw Hodgson adopt a somewhat cautious approach, in a game that was hardly ever likely to be played at breakneck pace around a gung-ho and flamboyant game plan.
Let's not be anything less than 100% realistic and clear about the way things are as regards the way England play... they don't have the world class individual performers that a lot of other countries do, but, they play as a team... a very well organised and difficult to beat team, under the astute leadership of Roy Hodgson and his coaching staff. Football is, when all is said and done, a team game.
England haven't lost a game for fourteen months, which kind of indicates that Hodgson must be doing something right.
For the record, the last defeat was on 19th June 2014, when they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by a Luis Suarez inspired Uruguay in Sao Paulo.
Prior to tonight's game, Switzerland, who are in second place in Group E, still needed 4 points from their last 3 games to guarantee their qualification for the finals in France next year.
Their fans turned up in decent numbers and made themselves heard on what was otherwise a fairly subdued night atmosphere wise, until the moment the majority of the crowd had been waiting for arrived in the 84th minute.
Their manager Vladimir Petkovic (not to be mistaken for the similarly named Vladimir Petrovic, who played a few times for Arsenal at the same time that I was living in North London) said:
"We have definitely moved forward since we played England last year. The main difference is we've got to know each other better."
The pressure was on Petkovic's team tonight, England could afford to relax, they have won Group E, and Hodgson understands that there will be times during Euro 2016 that he is going to have to implement a patient and no frills approach to grind out results, tonight was an ideal opportunity to work within such a framework, particularly against a team who appeared to have approached this game in exactly the same manner. In all honesty, I had expected more from tonight's visitors.
You don't win football matches by exposing your weaknesses to the opposition and letting them exploit any chinks in your armour, or by leaving the back doors open while galavanting recklessly forwards like some modern day 'Charge of the Light Brigade'.
Horses for courses football is what England do best.
It isn't alway aesthetically lovely to watch, but at this current moment in time it is proving to be very effective.
Of course, an avalanche of post match anti English (football) hate will be spewed forth all over social media tonight.
And all because the national football team won a fairly dull game of football.
Dissing the England team is very de rigueur don't you know darlings!?
While the national media U-turns one way and then the other, on the subject of an imminent/potential (delete as apt) influx of needy foreigners into our green and pleasant land, be careful to keep your eye on a very real and omnipresent blot to our national psyche, who are far greater in number than any body of asylum seekers, namely 'the enemy within'.
I despair at the ever growing number of fifth columnists, who are blowing a gasket with moral indignation at every given opportunity and getting off on putting the boot in on the national football team and their followers.
Why are you all so bloody angry?
Frank Doberman should never have been allowed to breed.
If you don't understand the England scene, the nature of the beast that is international football, or aren't even going to try and display that you have even the most tenuous grasp of the given reality of the situation, then it would be pointless trying to explain it to you anyway. And if that's you summed up to a tee, then piss off, you are reading the wrong blog.
If 'some people' genuine dislike watching England play so much and have nothing better to do with their time that get 'Twitter happy' all night long about something they allegedly don't care about, then, to my way of thinking, that says a lot about the kind of sad lives 'some people' must be living.
One of the funniest and most common criticisms of the England team and Wayne Rooney in particular, is that, his newly and achieved tonight record of being the highest scorer ever for the national team, includes goals he has scored from penalties.
Uh!? An England player getting slated for not fluffing penalty kicks, somebody please explain this one to me.
Anyway, on to tonight's game:
A bit of a going through the motions, end of qualification season, drab affair if truth be told, though I have touched on the probable rationale behind such a cautious and methodical performance already, so I won't go on.
To be fair, the second half was a bit better than the first.
Harry Kane fired England ahead on 67 minutes following some great work out on the left from Luke Shaw, who had a really good game tonight.
Raheem Sterling went to ground under a challenge from Granit Xhaka inside the Swiss penalty area, which gave Wayne Rooney the opportunity to fire England two in front with just six minutes to go, a strike that meant that Rooney has finally beaten Sir Bobby Charlton's long standing record as being England's top goalscorer ever.
Of course, people are now desperately trying to undermine Rooney's fifty goal achievement, but sadly that is the self loathing mindset of this miserable nation in which we live.
Comparisons between the two players are immaterial, because they have represented their country with honours through two very different eras and, goalscoring prowess apart, it is impossible to contrast between their two infinitely dissimilar playing styles.
There are lengthier and more in depth match reports around on t'internet by now I am sure, so feel free to go a seek them out if you require a more detailed account.
I will bid thee all goodnight now, it's late night feast and movie time on our coach back home..
FT: England 2 v Switzerland 0