In Fabio Capello’s first game in charge for England, against Switzerland at Wembley tonight, the Italian manager got off to a winning start when England beat the Swiss 2-1.
England celebrate the winning goal scored by Wright-Phillips
While the previous manager Steve McClaren seemed reticent to play the young fringe players, and stayed with the old guard, that certainly doesn’t look like the way Capello will use the younger players. Fabio gave a first start to David Bentley of Blackburn Rovers, and in his first game David was probably England’s best player.
But England started rather nervously and gave the ball away far too often in the first 20 minutes, probably through nerves. But once they settled down in the first half, they went ahead with an excellent goal. Joe Cole got the ball down the left and then left the full back for dead, and crossed a great ball for Jenas to poke home, even though he was off balance. It was a well worked goal by England.
The score at half time was 1-0 with the game fairly evenly balanced.
But then in the second half England came into the game and could have, and probably should have, scored more than the two goals they end up with. As it happened England were having most of the play after the break, but Switzerland scored a surprise goal, in what looked sloppy play by the England defense.
The Swiss were able to slice through the England defense like a knife through butter (or should that be cheese). Hakan Yakin got himself into space and put a great ball through to Derdiyok, that split the England defense, and Derdiyok hit the ball first time past James, to score on his International debut. It was a well taken goal, but where was the England defense?
So it was 1-1, against the run of play, but England kept attacking and as the second half went on, they looked more fluid and were creating chances, but couldn’t put the ball in the net.
England kept going, with Rooney seemingly covering every blade of grass as he was up front and then back defending, and really trying to get a goal. But tonight it was not to be for Wayne, who had several half chances. England finally got their second goal following good work by the captain Gerrard, who burst through the penalty area in the inside left channel and swung the ball across for young Shawn Wright Phillips to shoot home into an empty net. Another well worked goal by England.
Capello introduced Hargreaves and Bridge for Barry and Cole, in a straight swap, after around 65 minutes.
Then Crouch came on and looked energetic during the rest of the game. This boy is way under-rated, and following an excellent cross from Bentley, almost had the ball in the net, but shot straight at the keeper, when he met the cross on the volley.
David Bentley played very well tonight and it looked like he had played for England for years, as he continually provided excellent crosses into the box. It would seem, at least on this performance, that he will have a long England career ahead of him. Near the end Ashley Young of Aston Villa, was also introduced, for his first full England appearance.
Capello will be able to take a lot of positives out of this game. But there was no sign of Michael Owen coming off the substitutes bench, and based on the performance of some of the younger players tonight, Michael will have a struggle to regain his place in this England side. He’ll have to start scoring a lot of goals for Newcastle (good).
This may be changing of the guard for England under Fabio Capello, and former England regulars will no longer be chosen just because of what they’ve done in the past – which is the big mistake McClaren made – and paid for it.
England Starting Line Up:
James, Brown, Ferdinand, Upson, A.Cole, Bentley, Jenas, Gerrard, Barry, J.Cole, Rooney