Action returns to the pitch as England take on Swiss

by admin

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

With the more lurid nocturnal pastimes of English footballers once again dominating the headlines, it will be a relief to see the focus shift to the pitch for what looks like England’s hardest game of the Euro 2012 qualifiers.

All English eyes will of course be on Wayne Rooney, with every misplaced pass or heavy touch likely to be greeted with an analysis of his ‘state of mind’. Presumably it has been better, but I like to think that once he steps over the white line he’ll remind us why the tabloids care so much about him anyway and play just like he did against Bulgaria last week. His performance in that game suggests that his sub-par World Cup was more to do with his ankle injury than any dirty secrets he was allegedly keeping.

Or his brain will implode and he’ll get sent off.

At the other end Joe Hart continues his learning process between the sticks, with Cahill looking likely to get the nod to partner Jagielka in front of him.

Having been a Wembley regular for a few years, watching Man City’s number one was a slightly surreal experience. There wasn’t that impending sense of doom whenever anything went towards him, even when it involved Glen Johnson. Goalie fear is a sensation that had almost become synonymous with England days out after the years of James, Carson and Rob Green, and although I’ll miss the adrenaline rush, Hart could be much better for my all round health. He had a certain awe about him, a presence if you will, that just inspires confidence, even when he was doing keepy-ups in his own six-yard box. If that can be felt that from the top tier, then the defenders can surely sense it when standing metres in front of him.

I think we’ll sneak a 1-0 win, though would be happy enough with a point. Switzerland are known for their defensive resilience, and after toppling Spain at the World Cup they’ll no doubt relish the opportunity to take down another of Europe’s big names, if not talents. But I reckon a renewed surge of confidence from the Bulgaria victory, a fired up Rooney and some early season freshness can see us home.

Six or four points from the opening two games would be a decent return, and put us on track to qualification from what should be a relatively straightforward group, though I stress the word ‘should.’ England have been pretty good in recent qualifying campaigns, barring the calamitous 2008 experience, as we play against teams at a level we’re comfortable with. The real test will come in two years time…hopefully.

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  • Ben

    RIP Frank lampard and John Terry

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