Rooney justifies selection
England kept up their 100 per cent start to Euro 2012 qualifying as goals from Wayne Rooney, Adam Johnson and Darren Bent sank Switzerland.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 08/09/10 7:55am
England maintained their 100 per cent start to Euro 2012 qualifying as goals from Wayne Rooney, Adam Johnson and Darren Bent defeated Switzerland 3-1 at a sodden St Jakob Park.
Rooney, playing despite allegations about his private life, got England up and running after 10 minutes before substitute Adam Johnson, on for the stretchered-off Theo Walcott, doubled the advantage.
Ottmar Hitzfeld's Switzerland, who had Stephan Lichtsteiner sent off in the second half, did pull a goal back through Xherdan Shaqiri, but England wrapped up the win as Bent made it a deserved Group G result that followed their 4-0 scalp of Bulgaria.
Capello sprung a surprise with his team selection after opting for Joleon Lescott alongside Phil Jagielka in the absence of Michael Dawson with a knee injury. Gary Cahill, who replaced Dawson at Wembley, was expected to be called upon once more, but Capello gave Lescott the nod.
Of course, Rooney's performance was to be under even more scrutiny than usual following the weekend newspaper reports. And the Manchester United responded in perfect fashion when he opened the scoring on 10 minutes, slotting Glen Johnson's low cross past goalkeeper Diego Benaglio from close range.
There was, however, a sour note in the build-up to the goal as Theo Walcott sustained an injury which saw him stretchered off and replaced by Adam Johnson. Then, in the space of three minutes, Jermain Defoe twice threatened, with the latter of his chances flashing over the crossbar.
Defoe continued to look very bright indeed, and, as England dominated possession whilst demonstrating slick passing on a greasy surface, Defoe so nearly got on the end of an Ashley Cole delivery before James Milner's cross whipped beyond the lurking Tottenham poacher.
After news filtered through that Walcott was on his way to hospital for an X-ray on his injured ankle, the Swiss, very disappointing for the majority of the first half, built up some, if not a great deal, of pressure, with David Degen swiping a shot wide following a free-kick.
Defoe continued to be sharp in his movement, alas he failed to ensure England went into the half-time interval with a two-goal lead. The striker was denied by a reaction stop from Benaglio while he could not quite get on the end of a dinked Rooney cross.
The Swiss aimed to alter the pattern of the game by bringing on Shaqiri for Xavier Margairaz. But England began the second period with the same eager tempo, and Adam Johnson threatened to double the advantage on 47 minutes when firing a volley off target after being fed by Rooney.
In the 59th minute it was Glen Johnson's turn to test Benaglio, the full-back's shot zipping off the surface and drawing a decent save. Then, Milner received a booking that ensures he will miss England's next game against Montenegro through suspension, having been booked versus Bulgaria.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart then endured a shaky spell. First, the Manchester City player spilled a high ball, before letting slip a cross from the right channel. Hart's uncertainty was followed by Switzerland's best chance as Alexander Frei's fizzed ball across the six-yard box caused panic.
However, just when Switzerland were enjoying their best spell, they were reduced to 10 men. Referee Nicola Rizzoli branded a second yellow card to Lichtsteiner, who was penalised for a rash sliding challenge on Milner.
A quite bizarre passage of play took place in the build up to England's second goal. Defoe sustained an injury and sat in the middle of the pitch waiting for the ball to be kicked out of play and Darren Bent waited to replace him. But England played on, as Steven Gerrard threaded through Adam Johnson, who skipped past the keeper to make to two goals in as many games.
But just when the contest seemed over, substitute Shaqiri netted a rasper to make it 2-1. The 18-year-old let fly with a wonderful, swerving effort that left Hart clawing at thin air.Yet England were largely comfortable in the latter stages, with Capello making his final change as Shaun Wright-Phillips replaced goalscorer Rooney, and the the result was put beyond doubt courtesy of a tidy finish from Bent, his first for his country.
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|1||Shots on Target||5|
|4||Shots off Target||5|