Next up is the tricky trip to Switzerland. This should prove England’s hardest game in a relatively straight forward group.
This clash is sure to be tougher than the 4-0 victory over the Bulgarians at Wembley.
Despite only finishing third in their World Cup group they are now ranked 17th in the FIFA rankings. They are above France, USA and Ghana. This move up in the standings was partly due to their qualifying for the World Cup and probably something to do with their 1-0 victory over Spain in their opening game.
Under experienced coach Ottmar Hitzfeld the team runs like clockwork. The German coach has been successful with most of the teams he has managed and he has helped the Swiss become an even more solid unit then before his arrival.
It’s the general consensus in the Switzerland that this current international side lack creativity but the players work incredibly hard for each other and Hitzfeld has instilled a superb team spirit in the Swiss camp.
This current side is a young one. Veteran striker Blaise Nkufo retired from international football after the World Cup, ahead of a move to the MLS with Seattle Sounders.
Captain Alexander Frei is the country’s all-time record scorer with 40 goals but received boos from his own fans after missing a penalty in a 0-0 draw with Australia On Friday night. He could be the oldest player in the squad at 31; the majority of their squad are in their mid-twenties.
Hitzfeld seems to be allowing the youngsters the chance to develop in international football. The Swiss also have some very exciting youngsters waiting in the wings. Youngsters Xherdan Shaqiri and Nassim Ben Khalifa both have bright futures ahead of them and have recently made their full debut after impressing in the under-17 side.
This game may have come too early for these youngsters but I’m sure they will be quality players of the future.
England’s preparations for this clash haven’t been ideal either after newspaper allegations about Wayne Rooney’s private life. There were even rumours that the Manchester United striker would be left out of the squad for the trip to Switzerland.
However Rooney has caught a later flight to Switzerland and will start for the Three Lions. He must now put all the speculation and media talk to one side and try to concentrate on football. A distracted Wayne Rooney isn’t much use to anybody, except maybe Switzerland.
England mustn’t be complacent against the Swiss. The Three Lions were complacent against the likes of Algeria, Slovenia and USA at the World Cup and nearly came undone. In my opinion the Swiss are a better side then Slovenia and Algeria. And they are also one place above USA in the world rankings.
In previous qualification campaigns England wouldn’t worry about trips to smaller footballing nations. England’s World Cup performance was that bad though that people now worry about these sorts of games.
For all the doubts and the talk about the World Cup disappointment I still expect England to go to Switzerland get a result. I don’t think a draw would be a terrible result, although we should have enough to beat the Swiss.
Will England beat Switzerland on Tuesday?
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