Admir Mehmedi

Switzerland 0-2 England

A brace from Danny Welbeck got England off to winning ways in their opening game of Euro 2016 qualification.

Arsenal’s £16 million deadline day signing from Manchester United converted Raheem Sterling’s drilled cross just before the hour mark in Basel to give the Three Lions the lead.

He doubled his and England’s tally in second half stoppage time, slotting home after being set up by Rickie Lambert who replaced England captain Wayne Rooney late on.

Rooney worked himself into some space and passed to Sterling who assisted Welbeck in what was some neat build up play by England’s front three for the opener.

In a change of formation, Roy Hodgson set England up in a diamond formation with Sterling playing behind the front two of Rooney and Welbeck who executed their working relationship from their Manchester United days in an England shirt.

Well-IN!: Welbeck wins the game for England.

Wel-IN!: Welbeck scores his first of the night.

 

The three co-operated well throughout the match and in truth their performances should have ended up with more goals. Rooney had a tame shot saved after one Sterling pass and soon after a three-on-one scenario ended in Welbeck’s squared pass being just out of reach of Sterling’s outstretched boot.

Switzerland had opportunities of their own, none closer than when substitute Josip Drmic rounded Joe Hart in the second half but some superb covering defending by Gary Cahill ensured that Hart’s sheet would remain clean.

Cahill’s commitment to the cause resembled an act that Chelsea colleague John Terry is renowned for on the football pitch.

Haris Seferovic came close too for the Swiss, this time in the first half, but his shot was saved by Hart with his feet.

Seferovic also had a second half volley well kept out by England’s number one.

Juventus right back Stephan Lichtsteiner got into the act as well but both his efforts went sailing over the bar. The first, a thumping volley from far out following a cleared corner and he later on spooned over a shot that came from Ricardo Rodriguez’s low cross across the box.

England gave as good they got however, a turn and shot from Rooney just inside the area took an awkward bounce before being saved and Phil Jones had a powerful header denied from the resulting corner.

Under fire Jack Wilshere had a chance deflected wide in what was another uninspiring performance from him, he was replaced by James Milner with 73 minutes played.

Switzerland: Sommer, Lichtsteiner, Von Bergen, Rodriguez, Djourou, Inler, Xhaka (Dzemaili ’74), Behrami, Shaqiri, Seferovic, Mehmedi (Drmic ’63)

Subs not used: Hitz, Burki, Schar, Benito, Senderos, Widmer, Frei, Stocker, Fernandes, Kasami

England: Hart, Stones, Jones (Jagielka ’77), Cahill, Baines, Henderson, Delph, Wilshere (Milner ’73), Sterling, Rooney (Lambert ’90), Welbeck

Subs not used: Forster, Rose, Chambers, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Townsend

Man of the match: Danny Welbeck

Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador

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Group E started with a bang as Switzerland stole the points off a spirited Ecuador side.

Switzerland won the game in hugely dramatic circumstances. 45 seconds before the end Michael Arroyo had the goal at his mercy after being set up by Antonio Valencia but Valon Behrami came in with a last ditch challenge to save the Swiss.

They broke away with pace, Behrami moving it right and then Ricardo Rodriguez was set free on the left as Valencia’s offensive run had left space to be exploited, Rodriguez provided a low cross and Haris Seferovic swept home the winner first time.

Ecuador took the lead though in a first half of few clear-cut chances. Walter Ayovi’s flighted free-kick was headed home by Enner Valencia 22 minutes in.

Switzerland were unhappy that Ayovi decided to take his set piece outside the quadrant provided by the vanishing spray but referee Ravshan Irmatov allowed the goal.

Admir Mehmedi was introduced to the fold as a half time substitute and the super sub headed the Swiss level three minutes after coming on.

Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka wasn’t far away in the first half with a low strike that dipped and swerved but Maximo Banguera was equal to it and palmed it away for a corner.

Unsurprisingly, Xherden Shaqiri was the spearhead to any Switzerland danger but was largely wasteful throughout.

During the first half he had an effort from twenty yards that went straight into the ‘keeper’s arms and in the second he attempted a shot at goal from an impossible angle when a cross across goal would have been a better option.

Ecuador had opportunities to win the game themselves, most notable when Enner Valencia beat an onrushing Swiss stopper but Steve von Bergen was on hand to smash clear before Valencia could tuck away the winner.

Ayovi troubled Switzerland with another free-kick late on that moved considerably in the air but Diego Benaglio kept it out well.