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England on course for Euro 2012 after success in Switzerland

| 08.09.2010

England remain bang on track to qualify for Euro 2012 after maintaining their 100 per cent record in qualification with a mature 3-1 win in Switzerland.

Wayne Rooney’s first England goal in a year got Fabio Capello’s men off to a perfect early start, before goals from substitutes Adam Johnson and Darren Bent rounded off a fine performance where they outplayed the hosts for long periods.

Xherdan Shaqiri threatened to upset the evening with a blistering strike to make it 2-1, but the Swiss were always up against it after having Stephan Lichtsteiner sent off for two bookings when a goal down.

On the downside for England, who are now 8/1 to win Euro 2012, Theo Walcott was stretchered off after injuring an ankle in the build up to Rooney’s goal before being taken to hospital and Jermain Defoe also limped from the field to be replaced by Bent.

Rooney has been in the news for the wrong reasons in the past week, but justified his selection when tapping home Glen Johnson’s cross inside ten minutes in Basel.

Adam Johnson, who came on for the unfortunate Walcott, had tormented the Swiss defence all evening and got his second goal in successive internationals on 69 minutes when rounding Diego Benaglio after fastening onto Steven Gerrard’s through ball.

Shaqiri’s screamer gave the home fans some hope of stealing a point, but Bent’s first England goal put the game to bed two minutes from time after doing well to remain onside.

To win Euro 2012, England first have to qualify and Montenegro seem likely to pose the biggest threat.

They too have won both of their opening Group G games to sit just behind England on goal difference, with Capello preparing to set out a team to beat Montenegro in the next group clash next month.

Reigning World Cup winners Spain are the 7/2 favourites to win their second European Championships in succession. See the whole Euro 2012 winners market.



Ed Needham