This was supposed to be a comfortable England win in the European 2012 qualifier, as England had easily beaten Switzerland 3-1 away.
Switzerland’s second goal scored by Barnetta – where was Milner?
But it was not to be and Switzerland played their hearts out on the Wembley turf today, to get a well deserved draw, and they could even have nicked their first win against England in England, near the end, with a bit of luck.
The Swiss side included former Newcastle targets back in 2008, Gokhan Inler, the Swiss captain and midfielder, and 22 year old striker Eren Derdiyok.
And number 7 for the Swiss was Tranquillo Barnetta, who plays for Bayer Leverkusen in Germany, and is thought to be target this summer for Newcastle United.
Barnetta set up an early chance for Switzerland after just 6 minutes but Joe Hart made a good save.
Then on 32 minutes Switzerland surprisingly went ahead.
It was a free kick lofted in by Barnetta and the ball alluded everybody including England goalkeeper Joe Hart and the ball went into the goal off the post.
But things got worse for England just a couple of minutes later, when the Swiss went two up with some terrible defending from James Milner.
And it was that man Barnetta again, as he took another free kick from the left, and England has a two man wall, but former Newcastle winger James Milner pulled away from the wall, as the kick was being taken, and the ball was hit into the empty space and squeezed into the goal past a despairing Hart.
Joe Hart had been left completely exposed by Milner – what was he doing?
Note to Alan Pardew – sign Tranquillo Barnetta up in the summer.
England got back in the game after 37 minutes through a penalty – the last thing Switzerland should have been conceding.
Frank Lampard took the kick, and just about squeezed it it under the Swiss goalkeeper, to make it 2-1 and give England a lifeline.
But it was still a surprising 2-1 scoreline to Switzerland at the half.
However, the Swiss shocked everybody by attacking England in that first half, as they usually defend dourly, and even deserved their half time lead.
Ashley Young was brought on at the break and the Aston Villa substitute showed his quality after 51 minutes.
James Milner put a nice cross into the box, and Leighton Baines brilliantly chested the ball down to Ashley Young, and the Villa winger hit the ball beautifully into the back of the net with his right foot.
An excellently worked goal by England to draw level with the Swiss.
This was turning into a pulsating game at Wembley, and it was end to end stuff, and credit to Switzerland who wanted the win, and were not content with the score at 2-2.
Midway through the second half, a brilliant surging run through the middle by 19 year-old Jack Wilshere seemed to set Darren Bent up with the go ahead goal, but the goalkeeper made a good save as he smothered the ball at Bent’s feet.
Then ion 70 minutes the goalkeeper could only parry a great shot from Ashley Young, and Darren Bent with the goal at his mercy, somehow hit the ball over the cross-bar – a terrible miss by Bent.
With 10 minutes to go it was anybody’s game as both teams were looking for the winner, and of course Switzerland had never beaten England on our home turf.
On 82 minutes England almost got the winner, when a bad mistake by Arsenal’s Djourou, let in James Milner on the left, but Ashley Young couldn’t quite get to the cross and hit it over the bar.
England had a corner in the very last minute, but couldn’t get the all important winning goal, and it must be looked on as 2 points dropped by England, but a great result and a terrific performance from the Swiss.
And one little fact – England have now failed to get a win in their last 4 games at Wembley, which is the longest run without a win at Wembley in 30 years.
The English press will probably blame Fabio Capello – because he’s the only one who isn’t English. 😀
Team Line Ups:
England: Hart, Glen Johnson, Terry, Ferdinand, Cole, Parker, Lampard, Wilshere, Walcott, Milner, Bent.
Subs: Green, Jagielka, Baines, Barry, Young, Downing, Zamora.
Switzerland: Benaglio, Lichtsteiner, Senderos, Djourou, Ziegler, Behrami, Barnetta, Inler, Shaqiri, Derdiyok, Xhaka.
Subs: Wolfli, Von Bergen,Emeghara, Dzemaili, Fernandes, Mehmedi, Margairaz.