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Switzerland 0, England 2: Kicking Off Qualification in Convincing Fashion

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After a worrying warm-up against Norway, England kicked off Euro 2016 qualification in more convincing fashion, earning all three points on the road against Switzerland.

Laurence Griffiths
Switzerland 0
England 2 Welbeck 58' 90+4'

An unexpected competitive debut for Fabian Delph saw the Aston Villa man opposite Jordan Henderson as Roy Hodgson threw caution to the wind and sent England out in a 4-4-2 diamond. With Raheem Sterling at its tip and Jack Wilshere at its base, on paper at least it was about as attacking a side as England have deployed in recent years.

It may not have led to a swashbuckling display of the sort to match Liverpool at their best, but it was at least an England side interested in attacking—one that believed it could take all three points on the road against the side most believe they will be competing with for top spot in Group E. It was at least watchable, and a step in the right direction after the dire friendly against Norway.

The breakthrough for England should probably have come 15 minutes in when Sterling picked out Wayne Rooney on the break, but the striker could only fire a weak effort straight at the 'keeper. Then, at the 30 minute mark, Danny Welbeck had the chance to set either Rooney or Sterling up for the tap-in but horribly mis-hit his centring pass and the chance was wasted.

Minutes later, Liverpool transfer target Xherdan Shaqiri played Haris Seferovic clear on goal but Hart saved well with his foot, and as the first half ended with a brief flurry of activity around the Swiss penalty area. It was middling entertainment at best, but it was also clear that only one side was pushing for all three points while the other hoped for a lucky goal off the counter.

Missed chances continued to be the theme for England in the second half when Henderson laid a square centring pass on a plate for Sterling only for the Liverpool attacker to kick air instead of ball. With the Swiss seeming to grow into the game, it looked like England might pay for their profligacy. Instead, it led to England's belated breakthrough.

With the Swiss pushing higher up the pitch, England broke on the counter in the 58th minute, with Rooney playing Sterling down the right. The young attacker then curled a perfect low cross with his left foot into the path of Danny Welbeck, and the recent Arsenal signing only had to make solid contact to send the ball into the waiting goal and give England a deserved lead.

Afterwards, England always seemed likely to take all three points, and in stoppage time Sterling played in club teammate Rickie Lambert, who squared to Welbeck for his second of the night and penciled England in as Group E favourites.