Three Lions On The DrawStats
Switzerland v England
England look to bounce back from a disappointing World Cup by kicking off their Euro 2016 qualification campaign with a win against Switzerland.
After only narrowly losing out to Argentina after extra time at the last 16 stage of the World Cup, Switzerland’s summer can be described as a mildly successful, or at least acceptable, one.
The Swiss will therefore go into this Euro 2016 qualification campaign with a degree of confidence and as number two seeds will fully expect to be in France in the summer of 2016. The recently appointed Vladimir Petkovic assumes control of a side that are unbeaten in their last nine home games and have lost only one of their last 15 competitive matches inside the 90 minutes.
Xherdan Shaqiri ended the 2014 World Cup as Switzerland’s top scorer after he scored a hat-trick in the game against Honduras. However, the Bayern Munich midfielder has failed to score in three domestic fixtures so far this season.
England, meanwhile, are looking to bounce back from a less-than-positive World Cup campaign. The midweek 1-0 win against Norway was met with plenty of criticism as Roy Hodgson’s men mustered just two shots on target against an average side, while the victory was also England’s first in six matches after they left Brazil with just one point from three group stage matches.
Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of Wednesday night’s game as he converted from the spot, the new England and Manchester United captain now has two goals for the season; one for his club and one for his country.
Goalkeeper Diego Benaglio has retired from international football since the World Cup; Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Yann Sommer seems to be the most likely replacement.
Jack Colback and Ben Foster have both withdrawn from the England squad since it was announced, while Gary Cahill missed England training on Friday but is expected to be fit to play. Daniel Sturridge was sent for a scan after picking up an injury in training on Friday and is therefore doubtful.
Head-to-heads between these two teams traditionally produce goals. There were four goals scored in each of the two meetings during the Euro 2012 qualification process; England won 3-1 in Switzerland thanks to goals from Rooney, Adam Johnson and Darren Bent, while Frank Lampard and Ashley Young were on the scoresheet in a 2-2 draw at Wembley.
Xherdan Shaqiri scored his first international goal in that 3-1 game almost 12 months to the day before he scored his 2nd, 3rd and 4th in a hat-trick against Bulgaria.
It’s rare that we see England made as the outsiders for a game against an opposition such as Switzerland (no disrespect to Switzerland), but it is an accurate reflection of the regard in which the English public currently hold Roy Hodgson’s team. In the past blind faith would ensure that England would be favourites, yet they go into this game at odds of 9/5.
The Swiss are only marginally shorter at a price of 17/10, but the value option has to be a mutually beneficial draw at 2/1.
The England boss has hinted that he will deploy defensive tactics in Basel and that is something we should certainly take note of as punters.