Switzerland 0-2 EnglandJake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016
England kicked off their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign last night by beating Switzerland 2-0 and proved to any doubters that there is some fighting spirit in Roy Hodgson’s young squad.
Danny Welbeck stole the show by scoring two second-half goals but the whole team showed a far more skilful and united front than during their friendly against Norway last week.
Switzerland are the toughest opponent England are likely to face in their Euro qualifying group so victory brings a reasonable assumption that they might comfortably reach the main stage of the competition in France in 2016.
Hodgson, sounding understandably more relaxed than at his press conference last Wednesday, said, “It was a bold approach but we decided there was no point coming here for a 0-0, we want this team to progress. When we can counter-attack the pace, energy and youth of the team is shown.”
It is too soon to tell whether the England boss, who has come under fire since the team failed to win a game in their World Cup campaign, has won back any support among fans.
With Daniel Sturridge side-lined by an injury, the England line-up saw captain Wayne Rooney joined by Welbeck upfront and Raheem Sterling just behind as the point of a diamond formulation in midfield.
Jack Wilshere also impressed at the rear, reaffirming Hodgson’s decision to switch to the new system.
England’s next Euro 2016 qualifying game will take place on 9 October at Wembley against San Marino and, with the side’s newfound flair, the game is expected to sell many more tickets than the poor showing against Norway last week.
England have played against San Marino four times previously with an aggregate score of 26-1 to England. San Marino’s only goal against England was scored over 20 years ago but this is no reason for the team to become complacent.
“It was so important to get a good start against the team who are our biggest rivals in the group,” said Hodgson, but the boys will need to continue their forward momentum and put in the work to stay on good form.
“Yes, the World Cup didn’t go our way. Yes, we have been disappointed,” Hodgson conceded. “But we have been building up. We had to maintain faith that we are on the right track and we are getting the right players.”
Welbeck’s two goals were his first for England in over a year but it felt like we caught a glimpse of the young striker’s attacking potential.
Whether England continue to exceed expectations as the inexperienced team grow in confidence or return to their disappointing World Cup form is yet to be seen, but certainly a place in the main stages of the Euros is now well within reach.
Euro 2016 Group E Betting
Winner.com has England at 1/5 to win the group and qualify for Euro 2016 as by all accounts they’re now a shoo-in. Their recent inconsistent form, however, might allow another side to edge their way to the top of the table. Check out the odds:
- Switzerland to win Group E 7/2 (£10 bet returns £45)
- Slovenia to win Group E 20/1 (£10 bet returns £210)
- Estonia to win Group E 40/1 (£10 bet returns £410)
- Lithuania to win Group E 100/1 (£10 bet returns £1,010)
- San Marino to win Group E 7500/1 (£10 bet returns £75,010)