Rooney gets England back on track
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The five o'clock heat seemed to affect both teams, but a move of genuine class from England unlocked the Swiss defence in the first half, and the win was all but secured when Bernt Haas was dismissed in the second half for two mistimed challenges.
18-year-old Rooney made history as the youngest England player ever to score in the European Championship with the opener, and although he technically should not receive credit for England's second, it was his drive that cannoned from the post into goalkeeper Joerg Stiel and back into the Swiss net.
The arrival of substitutes Darius Vassel and Owen Hargreaves proved the driving force behind England's second - the latter lumping the ball over the top and the Aston Villa man's pace and tenacity laying the ball on for Rooney to strike.
Two became three as the Swiss heads finally dropped, with a wonderful move that saw David Beckham feed Gary Neville - whose low cross was thumped home at the far post by Steven Gerrard.
Rooney's record-breaking first goal was critical after a poor start from his nation.
Ironically, considering the opposition, it was England who looked more like a nation speaking several different languages through the opening 23 minutes - with the Swiss taking advantage of a lack of cohesion through the midfield.
The powerful Benjamin Huggel and Alexander Frei looked sharp - although it quickly became clear that Switzerland saw set pieces as their best chance of penetrating the England rear-guard.
Hakan Yakin's dangerous corners and free-kicks looked dangerous - with Steven Gerrard fortunate to see a defensive header fly narrowly over David James's goal and Murat Yakin was inches from connecting with another of his brother's crosses.
But in England's first meaningful passage of play, four star players combined to create a fine opener that settled the nerves.
Gerrard's tenacity allowed Beckham the ball in a dangerous position and the England captain did not disappoint - his vision and quality finding Michael Owen in space on the left hand side of the area.
Owen checked inside, but unselfishly chose to cross the ball in and Rooney was on hand to head home with aplomb and wheel away to celebrate his record breaking achievement.
England were suddenly on the ascendancy, but Switzerland still looked dangerous on the break and Frei directed a header wide when Huggel was better placed beyond him as the cross came in from Christoph Spycher.
Frank Lampard very nearly laid on a second, but his cutback was awkward for Scholes, whose shot was deflected wide.
A clever free-kick saw Ashley Cole escape down the left - but his low hard cross across the face of the goal evaded the oncoming Owen.
However, England's domination began to evaporate - and when Lampard was harshly adjudged to have had a foot too high as he tackled on the edge of his own box - Hakan Yakin's shot was inches wide - unlike a similar effort by Zinedine Zidane in England's last game.
Switzerland continued to look dangerous right up until they were reduced to ten men, for the second time in two Euro 2004 matches.
Haas had already been booked for a late but not terrible challenge on Gerrard on 49, when he flew in against Ashley Cole and was sent off with 32 minutes left on the clock.
As the scoreline took on an encouraging gloss in the final stages - Vassell continued to shine in place of the largely ineffective Owen, with a solo run not bringing the finish and goal he deserved for his efforts.
The Swiss deserve credit for their resistance - and if they had taken one of their early chances this may have been a very different game.
But instead, it was untidy, scrappy, but eventually emphatic, and exactly what England needed to ensure their fate is in their own hands when they play Croatia in the final group game.