Switzerland vs England 0-2 match Highlights Goals video 2014 UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying
Roy Hodgson handed Fabian Delph his first start as England began their European Championship qualifying campaign in Switzerland.
The 24-year-old Aston Villa midfielder impressed when brought on for his debut in last week’s tepid 1-0 friendly win against Norway and replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the starting line-up at St Jakob-Park.
Danny Welbeck started in place of Daniel Sturridge, who sustained a thigh complaint on Friday, although Jordan Henderson overcame an injury scare on the eve of the match to start in Basle.
John Stones continued at right-back against Switzerland, whose starting line-up included former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou and ex-West Ham midfielder Valon Behrami.
England manager Hodgson, who came in for criticism following last week’s uninspiring win over Norway, handed Welbeck the central striker’s role he craves and he responded by scoring both goals in this impressive 2-0 victory in Basle.
The 23-year-old showed why Arsenal paid £16million for his signature as he turned home a Raheem Sterling cross on a lightning counter-attack that also involved captain Wayne Rooney.
And the former Manchester United man rounded off the win in injury time with a well-taken finish.
Hodgson turned the air blue following criticism of his team at Wembley last Wednesday, but tonight he will have nothing but kind words to say about his team after they put in a much-improved display.
Without 15 injured seniors, Hodgson’s young starting XI had just 282 caps among them whereas Switzerland’s team had played 481 times in total for their country.
That, and the fact that Switzerland were ranked 11 places above England, made the hosts the pre-match favourites but Hodgson’s men were the best team going forward by some distance.
The attacking triumvirate of Welbeck, Sterling and Rooney created many chances, but their finishing let them down until Welbeck poked home his first England goal since September 6, 2013.
Fabian Delph, making his full debut, also put in a strong display in the middle of the park.
The defensive vulnerabilities that cost England in Brazil were still evident – Phil Jones almost gifted the Swiss the lead in the first half.
But Hodgson will return to England with a broad smile on his face after beating his biggest rivals in Group E.