England vs Switzerland: 5 Things We Learned

We’re often told that there are no such things as easy games in international football. This has never been more true than for England’s poor score draw with an underwhelming Switzerland side. But what did we learn from the game?
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We’re often told that there are no such things as easy games in international football. This has never been more true than for England’s poor score draw with an underwhelming Switzerland side. But what did we learn from the game?

1. Darren Bent squanders too many chances at this level…

“My missus could have scored that one,” Harry Redknapp once famously said of a wasted Darren Bent chance. It will take the much-travelled Aston Villa striker a long time to escape the memory of the 70th minute sitter that he skied over the Swiss bar, but as it wasn’t his only clear-cut chance of the game that went wanting, have we learned that maybe Bent isn’t the answer to the nation’s goalscoring problems?

2. It doesn’t matter how many goals Peter Crouch has scored for England, he won’t get a game…

With 22 goals in 42 international games, Peter Crouch has a record to match the best in English football, but no matter how many times he finds himself called up to spend a week with Fabio Capello, he’s starting to realise that he’ll be extremely lucky to even find himself a place on the bench these days. With Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe both ruled out of the end of season qualifier, this should have been the perfect opportunity to test the lanky frontman, who thrives against mediocre opposition. However, with just one England cap to his name and 14 days Crouch’s senior, Bobby Zamora was the striker held in reserve on the bench for what has turned out to be an oh-so crucial qualifier. ‘Crouchy’ may have looked good at Wembley in his FA blazer but with his marriage looming large and a ‘pre-nup’ to proofread, it’s not like he didn’t have something better to do with his time. Will we ever see the robot-dancing goal-machine in an England shirt again?

Maybe Capello should spend more time sticking to his original promise to field players who are in form, rather than playing conjuring tricks to confuse the press box.

3. If Ashley Young has a good game for England, let him play in the next match…

After a run of impressive displays for England, the general consensus was that Ashley Young was a shoe-in to start this vital qualifier. However, it wouldn’t be an England game if Fabio Capello didn’t spring at least one surprise to confound the ‘expected line-up’ predictions of the pundits and Young found himself overlooked in favour of James Milner. But after coming on for Frank Lampard at the beginning of the second-half, he showed just what the team had been missing thus far, equalising with clinical precision after just six minutes on the pitch. Maybe Capello should spend more time sticking to his original promise to field players who are in form, rather than playing conjuring tricks to confuse the press box.

4. Joe Hart is a promising keeper, but he’s not the second coming of ‘Safe Hands’ Seaman…

England’s long run of dependable goalkeepers came to an end with the retirement of David Seaman and the national team has since struggled to find a reliable replacement. For a time it was thought that 24-year-old Joe Hart might have everything that was needed and more, but after conceding two goals in three minutes from speculative free-kicks, his howler for the second Swiss strike made it clearå that while he’s undeniably a fine keeper with plenty of potential, he’s not yet the world class No.1 that we had hoped and prayed for.

5. England players are just as tired with a holiday as they are without one…

When Capello took the job as England manager the nation was ready for a coach who didn’t mollycoddle our overpaid prima donnas – and he promptly refused them a short break before their long summer of discontent in South Africa. However, performances at the World Cup were damned, with the general consensus being that the poor little dears were too tired. With that in mind, this year the England gaffer allowed his boys to nip off on a short break between the end of the season and the start of the their summer holidays proper. All he asked of them was to pop back for a few days fully refreshed to tackle the mighty Swiss, who’d probably been tiring themselves out with all that extra training while our boys were sunning themselves on the beach. It didn’t quite work out like that and with ten minutes of the game to go, the England team were just plain knackered, outplayed by their fairly rank opponents. And what excuse did Capello come up with? Well, apparently the poor dears were still tired, even after their break. At least that’s what we think he said…

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