By Ollie Irish
To sum up, England were again lively and professional – as they were against Bulgaria on Friday – but how bad were the Swiss!? Abysmal, in a word. To show such little ambition in a home qualifer against the strongest side in your group is a damning indictment of their manager Otmar Hitzfeld (for all of his successes and supposed wisdom). I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised – at the World Cup, the Swiss were hardly positive.
‘Troubled’ Wayne Rooney played like a man whose head was suddenly empty (he’s used to that), the new-look defence looked solid (Jagielka is making a strong case for a regular starting slot, even when Terry and Ferdinand are fit), Adam Johnson looks to the manor born, and much-maligned Darren Bent took his goal expertly. Hardly a negative in sight, except for the ankle injury suffered by Theo Walcott in the build-up to Rooney’s early goal.
Some hacks say England have now done all the hard work already – Switzerland away was supposed to be the biggest obstacle! – in an easy group and might as well buy the guidebooks for Poland/Ukraine. With the likes of Wales and midly dangerous Montenegro to come, it’s hard to disagree with that: England will waltz their group. Then comes the hard part.