Three questions answered in England vs Switzerland

Three questions answered in England vs Switzerland

06/07/24 19:26

Trust me, watching England and knowing you’re going to have to write a match report on the game isn’t much fun, especially when the game goes to penalties. The momentum of the game swung back and forth, particularly in the second half of normal time, and 90 and then an extra 30 minutes were not enough to separate the two sides.

The performance from an England standpoint was definitely better than any of their previous games in Euro 2024 and that was partly down to the change of system. There are still plenty of questions that need to be answered by Gareth Southgate and the boys, but here are three questions that were answered in England vs Switzerland.

Is England’s bench strong enough to change the game?

So far in the tournament, England have made just two changes before the 65th minute, the lowest of any team in the Euros. It was around that time that Switzerland made their first two changes which swung the pendulum of momentum in their favour and 10 minutes later they were in the lead. This is how most of X was reacting:

It was obvious that changes needed to be made by England before that, but Southgate left it until after his team were behind to make substitutions. Even though none of the players who came on were involved in England’s goal, the momentum shifted back towards the Three Lions. After Bukayo Saka’s stunner, England looked the most likely team to score.

I think England’s depth was epitomised when Ivan Toney came on for Harry Kane in extra-time and no one batted an eyelid because everyone knows that he can put away a penalty better than anyone.

Who is England’s biggest threat?

I have been saying it all tournament, Saka has been England’s brightest spark in attack. He provided an assist to England’s first goal in the tournament and has been constantly running at defenders and taking them on. In an attack that has looked disjointed and a bit lost, he has been the one consistent performer. Yet many have been calling for him to be dropped for Cole Palmer.

Don’t get me wrong, Palmer is an excellent player, but he prefers to drift inside like Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Keiran Trippier and he doesn’t solve the problems that England have in attack.

Saka was able to silence the critics today with a Player of the Match performance and a world class goal to go along with it. In the first half he beat his man on five or six occasions and provided some great balls into the box that Kane and co. were unable to get onto the end of and in the second half he was more direct, having a couple of good efforts on goal, including one that went in off the post.

Pressure? What Pressure?

The big question was asked as the final whistle went. Can England win a penalty shootout? The answer was yes. Palmer, Bellingham, Saka, Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold all scored their penalties with incredible composure and ice cold nerves. Jordan Pickford managed to save the first penalty he faced, from Manuel Akanji and that was enough for England to win the game.

Saka, being the class professional that he is, probably wasn’t thinking about his last penalty at the Euros which he missed against in the final of Euro 2020, but I’m sure there were some fans who were. I had never been more confident that an England player was going to score a penalty when he stepped up, but that record was short lived as Toney was next and we are all aware of his record from 12 yards.

England will either face the Netherlands or Turkiye in the semi-final on Wednesday 10th July at 8pm and I’m sure, like me, a lot of England fans will be feeling more optimistic than they have been so far in this tournament.

Benji Kosartiyer
Jake Martin



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