England claimed a 2-0 in Switzerland in their opening Euro 2016 qualifying game on Monday night.
A brace from Arsenal’s new striker Danny Welbeck was enough to secure three points in arguably the Three Lions toughest game of the qualifying group.
England boss Roy Hodgson will be encouraged by the improvement in the team’s performance from Wednesday’s lifeless display against Norway.
His team showed more fluency and better understanding of what their manager wanted in Switzerland.
England may have produced a decent display, but Switzerland’s lack of ambition was surprising at times. The Swiss were the home team and are ranked 9th in the FIFA world rankings, yet they sat back and attempted to hit Roy Hodgson’s team on the break.
They did create some good chances, but their fans must have been disappointed by the lack of ambition shown by new boss Vladimir Petkovic. Switzerland has never been the most adventurous team in international football, but you would have expected more from them considering England’s morale was low prior to the game.
England looked far more dangerous in attack in Basel, than they did on Wednesday night. Arsenal new boy Danny Welbeck looked especially dangerous and took his chances in front of goal. His first may have hit his shin, but he was in the right place to score the goal.
The 23-year-old looked dangerous with his pace and direct running causing the Switzerland defences major problems. He also linked up well with Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling, who was playing behind the front two for much of the match.
Without the injured Daniel Sturridge England actually looked more threatening going forward and the Liverpool star may have difficulty getting back in the team if Welbeck can find his goal scoring form for Arsenal in the Premier League.
Sterling enjoyed a quiet match, but did produce one or two lively moments. However for the youngster it is all about learning on the international stage and learning the number ten position, which currently looks like his best position.
Rooney was also not at his best, but worked hard and produced an all-round better performance than the one against Norway.
England boss Roy Hodgson surprised most with his selection of Aston Villa ace Fabian Delph, who made his debut. Delph’s only previous international experience came in a cameo appearance against Norway. However, after a slightly nervous start Delph looked the part in international football.
He retained the ball well and completed 26 successful passes in the first half. He also drove forward from midfield at times, something that England has lacked in recent games. Maybe Delph is proof that Hodgson needs to start looking beyond the top six Premier League teams to pick his team.
England’s backline of John Stones, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones and Leighton Baines looked relatively solid, but keeper Joe Hart was called into action on a few occasions to bail out his defence. England may have conceded a few chances, but that has to be expected playing away from home against decent opposition.
Playing at right-back young Stones made a tentative start. However he grew into the game and looked more assured as the game went on. He did well for a player that has played much of his recent first team football at centre-back.
Club-mate Phil Jagielka may find it hard to get back into the team at centre-back, although he did come on as a substitute when Jones picked-up an injury. The experienced defender will have to improve his performances at club level to stay in contention for a starting berth with England.
England’s display was obviously not perfect, but you cannot expect perfect from a team with a number of new players. The fact that Roy Hodgson has 18 players unavailable to him through injury has not helped England’s cause.
However the performance in Basel proved that there are signs that the performances are improving. England may not be world beaters, but at least things are now looking up slightly for Hodgson and his beleaguered team.
Were you impressed by England against Switzerland?