Good evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for tonight's Euro 2016
qualifier as Group E's top two teams go head to head at Wembley. England
have the luxury of having already qualified for the tournament in France, but their job is not completely done just yet as they look to guarantee their place as group winners. Switzerland
, meanwhile, still have work to do to qualify, so we should be in for a good game in London tonight. Let's start with a look at the team news...
ENGLAND STARTING XI: Hart; Clyne, Cahill, Smalling, Shaw; Delph, Shelvey, Milner; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rooney, Sterling
ENGLAND SUBS: Butland, Heaton, Gibbs, Stones, Jagielka, Mason, Barkley, Vardy, Walcott, Kane
What can we make of that England side, then? Well, Roy Hodgson
promised changes and he has made four of them to the side that cruised past San Marino at the weekend. That is no particular surprise given the relative strength of the opposition, and the XI chosen by the Three Lions boss is pretty much as expected. Two of the changes come at the heart of the defence, with Everton duo John Stones and Phil Jagielka making way following their easy ride in Serravalle, being replaced by Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling.
There are no changes in terms of the wide defenders, however, and the back five chosen by Hodgson this evening looks like being his favoured choice at the moment. Whether that will change before next summer's tournament - with Stones expected to continue his improvement and perhaps push Cahill for a place alongside Smalling - remains to be seen, but Clyne has now firmly established himself as the first-choice right-back, while Shaw appears to have nudged ahead of Gibbs and the injured Baines on the left.
Another change comes in midfield as Delph returns to the starting XI despite not being too involved with Manchester City during the early stages of the domestic season. He comes in for Barkley, who drops to the bench despite scoring his first senior international goal against San Marino, but Shelvey does keep his place as the deep-lying playmaker. The Swansea midfielder was the man of the match in Serravalle, but both of his international appearances have come against San Marino, so tonight will be his first real test at this level. Carrick's withdrawal with a calf injury has given him another chance, and it will be interesting to see how he copes against better international opposition.
The fourth change sees Raheem Sterling
return to the side having sat out against San Marino so that Hodgson could have a look at Vardy. The Leicester man didn't do much in that game, though, and it is no surprise to see him drop to the bench and £49m man Sterling come in. The youngster opened his City account against Watford just before the international break and should be full of confidence, with his speed and tricky, coupled with that of Oxlade-Chamberlain on the other side, capable of causing Switzerland all sorts of problems.
As they were in Serravalle, though, all eyes will once again be on Wayne Rooney
tonight. The skipper hasn't quite found his shooting boots in the Premier League yet this season, but one more goal for his country would see him surpass the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton
as England's highest ever goalscorer. He has scored in each of England's last six qualifiers and netted eight times in his last nine outings for his country, while at Wembley he has scored in each of their last five competitive fixtures. Should he continue that streak today then he would be the first Englishman to hit a half-century of international goals.
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SWITZERLAND STARTING XI: Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Klose, Schär, Rodríguez; Inler, Behrami, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Drmic, Stocker
SWITZERLAND SUBS: Kasami, Von Bergen, Fernandes, Lustenberger, Hitz, Dzemaili, Moubandje, Mehmedi, Widmer, Embolo, Seferovic, Burki
As for Switzerland, they have also made a few changes to the side that dramatically overcame Slovenia last time out. Vladimir Petkovic
brings in three new faces from that match, and again they were all largely expected. Drmic and Stocker proved to be Switzerland's heroes in Basel on Saturday night, coming off the bench to both score as the Swiss turned things around late on, and as such they have been rewarded with a starting berth this evening, with Seferovic and Mehmedi the men to miss out.
Gokhan Inler is the other change for the visitors after he sat out of the Slovenia game. He replaces Dzemaili in the middle of the park, where he will feature alongside Behrami and Xhaka. At the back there are no changes, however, with Petkovic keeping faith with his defence despite them conceding twice on Saturday. Sommer, Lichtsteiner, Klose, Schar and Rodriguez are the men looking to keep Rooney from making it a record-breaking night.
Along with Drmic and Stocker, England will have to be wary of the threat posed by Xherdan Shaqiri this evening. The winger moved to England this summer, joining Stoke City in a rather surprising transfer considering just how highly he was rated not too long ago. He undoubtedly possesses plenty of quality, as he showed with a hat-trick at last summer's World Cup, and if he is given time and space to operate in then he could hurt the hosts tonight.
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England are in the rather unfamiliar position of the pressure being off them going into today's match. While they rarely suffer too many defeats during a qualifying campaign for a major tournament, their progress to that tournament isn't usually sealed until the final game or two. They usually make the fans sweat, but this time around it has been relatively plain sailing for Roy Hodgson
Indeed, the Three Lions are the only remaining side with a 100% record in this qualifying campaign following Slovakia's defeat to Spain on Saturday, which has helped England to qualify in record time. Never before had they guaranteed their place at a major tournament with three qualifying matches to spare, but that is what Hodgson and his players have achieved this time around, becoming the first side to book their place in next summer's showpiece alongside hosts France.
The job is not over yet, though. Hodgson may use the final few qualifiers to experiment a little as they will be his last competitive fixtures before the tournament gets underway, but he will have one eye on maintaining that 100% record. Never before have England managed 10 wins from 10 in a qualifying campaign, and that is a slice of history that would only boost the team's confidence going into Euro 2016
. Top spot in Group E is still to be secured as well, although they simply need a point from tonight's match to guarantee that.
England fans will know from experience not to get too carried away with the team's chances next summer, but the signs since last year's disastrous World Cup campaign have certainly been encouraging. No team scored more goals than them in the opening seven matches of European qualifying, while only three sides have conceded fewer than England's tally of three in seven outings. Their goals-for column was boosted by their 6-0 hammering of San Marino at the weekend, but it is still an impressive record for them to boast.
England are still unbeaten since their 2-1 loss at the hands of Uruguay in their second group game at last summer's World Cup, a run that now stretches 12 matches and emcompasses seven victories and eight clean sheets. It is their longest run since October 2005 - October 2006, not including England's exit from the World Cup on penalties that year. At home, they have won six games on the bounce, keeping five clean sheets and scoring 17 goals since back-to-back friendly losses at the hands of Chile and Germany in November 2013.
Indeed, they have not lost a competitive match here at Wembley since way back in November 2007, when Croatia came to town and ended Steve McClaren's side's hopes of making it to Euro 2008. They are unbeaten in 17 games since that loss, winning 14 of those, while seven have come in qualifying for the European Championships, during which they have kept five clean sheets.
In all, it is now 15 European Championship qualifying matches since England last tasted defeat, on that rainy night against Croatia, while including World Cup qualifying too, England have not been beaten while trying to reach a major tournament in 26 games, since a 1-0 loss at the hands of Ukraine in October 2009. They face Estonia and Lithuania in their final two qualifiers of this campaign, before friendlies against Spain, France and Germany ahead of next summer's tournament.
It is a tall order for Switzerland today, then, but the visitors may feel that this is a relatively good time to play the Three Lions. Despite England being in such good form, the fact that they have now qualified for Euro 2016 could cause them to subconsciously take their foot off the pedal a little. Switzerland themselves still have a lot to play for, so it will be up to the hosts to match the visitors' intensity tonight.
In all likelihood, Switzerland will be there in France alongside England. Petkovic's side are currently six points behind England, and need to win tonight if they harbour any slim hopes of stealing top spot, but they are five clear of Estonia in third with just three matches remaining. Switzerland can't qualify tonight, but victory would put them right on the brink, with just four points needed from their last three outings to guarantee their place in next summer's tournament.
Switzerland were tipped to challenge England for top spot in the group having been highly ranked by FIFA at the start of the qualification process, but they made a terrible start to their campaign. They welcomed the Three Lions to Basel in the opening game and were beaten 2-0, which was a blow for the hosts but not necessarily the biggest shock. Their next match saw them beaten 1-0 by Slovenia, however, which left them without a point or even a goal from their first two fixtures.
In fairness to Vladimir Petkovic
and his side, they bounced back in style. They have won each of their five European qualifiers since those consecutive defeats, which is already their best ever winning streak during the continental qualifying stages. They did win five on the bounce during qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, but have never, in any qualifying campaign, managed six victories in succession.
All in all, they come into this match on an eight-game unbeaten run that stretches back 11 months and includes six victories and two draws. They have scored 22 goals in those eight matches - almost three per game - and have also kept four clean sheets at the other end of the park. They are currently on a run of three consecutive victories, and another today would give them four on the bounce for the first time since September-December 1994.
It must be said that their away record is rather mixed, though. They have won four and lost four of their last nine matches on their travels, although that did follow a 10-game unbeaten run on the road. They actually went 12 years without winning an away European Championship qualifier before the current campaign, but victories over San Marino (4-0) and Lithuania (2-1) have seen them end that streak. Never have they won three away Euro qualifiers in a row.
It took a dramatic turn of events for them to keep their overall winning streak going in this campaign, with Slovenia looking destined to come away from Basel with an impressive three points at the weekend. They led 2-0 at St-Jakob Park going into the final 10 minutes, but Drmic pulled one back in the 80th minute before Stocker levelled the scores four minutes later. Suddenly Slovenia were left trying to hold on for a draw, but Drmic struck again deep into stoppage time to seal a memorable late comeback for his side.
PREDICTION: We're 10 minutes away from kickoff at Wembley, which means that it is time for a prediction! A lot rests on how England approach this game, and whether they still put 100% in despite having already qualified. They will be keen to maintain their perfect record, though, so I can see them maintaining their intensity for this one. Switzerland will no doubt be a tougher test than San Marino, but the hosts should have enough about them to pick up the victory. I'm going for 2-1 to Roy Hodgson's side.
England have lost just one of their 10 competitive meetings with Switzerland down the years, winning six and drawing three of the remaining nine. However, Switzerland have never beaten England on English soil, with four draws and five defeats to show from their nine visits in competitive and friendly action.
Switzerland have not kept a clean sheet against England since 1977, when they played out a goalless draw at Wembley in Ron Greenwood's first match at the helm of the national team. Switzerland were, however, the last visiting team to score more than once past England in a competitive match at Wembley, doing so in a 2-2 draw in June 2011, when Barnetta put the visitors 2-0 up before goals from Frank Lampard and Ashley Young rescued a point.
Switzerland have slid down the FIFA rankings in recent times, dropping from ninth to 17th since May. Of course, those should be taken with a pinch of salt, but England may have been expecting more of a challenge from today's opponents over the course of qualifying. They actually began their campaign in Switzerland with what was the hardest match of the lot on paper, but two second-half goals from Danny Welbeck saw them run out 2-0 winners.
The anthems have been blurted out at Wembley and we're just about ready to go here. Can Rooney break the record? We will find out over the next 90 minutes!
KICKOFF: Here we go then! Switzerland get us underway as they look to end England's 100% record in qualifying and put themselves on the brink of France 2016 as well.
What a blow this is for England, Manchester City and Fabian Delph. Within the opening 30 seconds of the match he pulls up and grabs his hamstring, which is the same injury that has troubled him in the early stages of the domestic campaign. It doesn't look like he will be able to continue here.
ENGLAND SUB: Sure enough, Delph limps straight down the tunnel and is replaced by Ross Barkley far earlier than the Everton man, or Roy Hodgson, could have imagined.
Aside from that early injury to Delph this has been a confident and assured start for England. They have dominated the ball in the opening exchanges and are seeing plenty of it inside the Switzerland half.
CHANCE! England win an early corner and Switzerland's marking leaves a lot to be desired. Cahill finds himself open to plant a header goalwards, but the keeper gets down to make the save to his left.
At the other end Switzerland win themselves a corner despite the best efforts of Hart to prevent it going behind, but Shaqiri's whipped delivery towards the near post is cleared away by Barkley.
Better from the visitors now as they begin to put England under a lit of pressure. Rodriguez gets the ball down the left and whips a testing low one into the box, but Smalling is alert to the danger and puts it behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.
Brilliant defending from Smalling, who looks better every time I see him at the moment. The ball broke loose for Shaqiri and the winger looked like being in a good position to race through on goal, but Smalling came across, matched the Stoke man for pace and then muscled him off the ball.
England win a free kick in a good position to put the ball into the box, but Milner's delivery is floated rather than whipped and Switzerland are able to clear.
CHANCE! Half a chance for England as Shaw feeds the ball down the left channel for Rooney before getting up in support of his skipper and receiving the ball back. He whips a cross into the box towards Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the Arsenal man has to take the volley first time with the outside of his boot at an awkward height, and can only put it over the top.
CHANCE! Another hint of a chance for the hosts, and this time it falls to Rooney himself. Again he makes the run down the left channel, but this time he opts to go for goal, opening his body but failing to get his foot around the ball enough. His effort dribbles wide of the far post.
Half-breaks at either end in quick succession here as first Oxlade-Chamberlain is forced to make an important interception in his own area after Clyne had misjudged a cross, allowing England to break, only for the promising attack to fizzle out.
CHANCE! England create the best chance of the match so far in the 20th minute as Rooney collects a high ball just inside the Switzerland half before bearing down on the opposition area. He sends a reverse pass in to Milner down the left channel, but the Liverpool man's low strike was straight at Sommer.
Moments later Shelvey looks to get a first international goal in style as he lets fly from range, but he slices his effort high and wide.
Midway through the first half Hodgson will be fairly content with what he has seen from his side so far. It is England who have enjoyed more of the ball and created the better chances, but there has still been no breakthrough here at Wembley.
A bit of a risky one from Sterling as he goes to ground right on the edge of the box, sending Lichtsteiner to ground. The initial contact was just outside the box, though, and he did enough up knocking the ball behind for a corner, so while he took a chance, it was good play from the City winger.
A magnificent searching diagonal ball finds Rodriguez very advanced down the left flank, and the full-back collects the ball before squaring up Clyne. He fires a low ball into the box that almost picks out Drmic, but Smalling does well to clear the danger.
YELLOW CARD! Milner becomes the first player in the book for a challenge on Lichtsteiner after his first touch showed too much of the ball to the Swiss full-back. Perhaps a little harsh, but you can see why the ref gave that one.
Shooting chance for Switzerland as the ball breaks for Shaqiri after a slip from Shelvey. The Stoke man immediately looks to go from goal from 25 yards out, but he curls his effort over Joe Hart's crossbar.
CHANCE! Switzerland have their best chance of the match, but Hart is out very quickly to thwart the visitors. Drnic did really well to hold the ball up and poke it to Xhaka on the turn, who proceeded to feed a lovely ball through to Shaqiri. The winger's first touch is a little loose, however, showing just too much of it to Hart, who bravely comes out to claim at the feet of the attacker.
Switzerland have begun to look a little more dangerous in the last five minutes or so, with Shaqiri in particular having a growing influence on the game. The likes of Rooney, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sterling have faded during that time too.
While Hodgson will be happy with what he has seen from his side so far, Petkovic will also be content with this. His side have got a foothold in the game and have threatened on a couple of occasions. Right now, it is they who look most like opening the scoring.
Hodgson would have been keen to see how Shelvey copes under more pressure than he experienced against San Marino, and Switzerland are giving him his answer. They are looking to close the Swansea man down quickly whenever he is on the ball, but he is coping with it relatively well at the moment and is certainly not hiding.
A little better from England, who have just been a little flat in attack over the last 10 minutes. Oxlade-Chamberlain picks the ball up in the final third and quickly turns before standing a cross into the middle. Rooney is in there, but the ball is just too high for him and the chance goes begging.
Milner looks to release Rooney with a ball over the top, and the skipper looks very interested in it. He watches the ball drop down over his shoulder, but just can't bring it under his spell as it runs through to the keeper. I thought for one second he might try a first-time volleyed lob there, but he was unable to make any contact whatsoever.
Switzerland look to be through on goal with Drmic, but he is denied a glorious chance by the offside flag. That one was very tight indeed, but it looks to be a good call from the official.
SHOT! Again Switzerland hit England on the break, with Shaqiri carrying the ball inside from the left before feeding a pass to Drmic. His first touch sets him up nicely for the shot, but he drags his effort wide of the far post.
There will be just the one added minute at the end of this first half.
HALF TIME: England 0-0 Switzerland
Gianluca Rocchi brings an end to the first half at Wembley, and we're still goalless between England and Switzerland. Both sides have enjoyed spells in the ascendancy over the opening 45 minutes, and there have been chances for the deadlock to be broken, but as yet neither team have been able to find a way through. It is finely poised for the upcoming second half, though.
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It was England who made the brighter start to the match, enjoyed more of the ball and all of the chances inside the opening 20 minutes of the match. The best of the lot fell to James Milner, who made a diagonal run towards the left channel to latch on to a reverse pass from Rooney. He drilled a low effort towards goal, but it was too close to Sommer, who made the save.
Cahill had the first chance of the match when he latched on to a corner inside the box, finding himself unmarked to plant a header goalwards. Sommer got down well to make the save, however, and that is one of the only times that Switzerland have been found wanting defensively. They have been good off the ball for the most part, giving England minimal time and space to build attacks.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has had one half-chance that he failed to get on target, while Rooney also had a sight of goal as he continues his quest to break Bobby Charlton's record. The latter saw the skipper make a run down the left channel before opening his body and attempting to curl one into the far corner. He didn't get his foot around it enough, however, and his effort ended up dribbling a few yards wide. It was perhaps a touch selfish from Rooney, who had men in support, but you can't really blame him for going for goal all things considered.
Switzerland grew into the match and ended the half as the better side, with their best chance falling the way of Shaqiri. He latched on to Xhaka's through-ball, but his first touch just showed too much of it to Hart, who was quick off his like to thwart the Stoke attacker with a brave save. Shaqiri became more and more influential as the half wore on, and England will need to quell that in the second half.
There was an early blow for England in that first half as, inside the opening 30 seconds, Delph pulled up with a hamstring injury that forced him off. Barkley came on in his place, but it was a blow for Hodgson's tactics and especially for Delph himself, who has seen his early Manchester City career already disrupted by injury.
KICKOFF: England get us back underway for the second half, with 45 minutes to rescue their 100% record in Group E. A reminder that, as things stand, they will still seal their place as group winners tonight.
CHANCE! An early chance for England in this second half as Switzerland give the ball away in a dangerous position. Rooney and Barkley combine to find Sterling, who in turn plays it back for Barkley. The Everton man takes a touch before trying to curl one into the far corner from just outside the box, but Klose gets his head to it, putting it behind for a corner.
This has been a good start to the second half from England. Having been on the back foot in the closing stages of the first half they have resumed control of the match now.
SAVE! Good play from Oxlade-Chamberlain down the right as he beats his marker for pace to reach the byline before standing the ball up into the middle. Rooney is backtracking but still manages to get a good head on it, generating all of the power himself to bring a save from the keeper. The skipper may have been better served leaving that for an unmarked Sterling behind him, though.
Good play from Inler as he skips away from two white shirts in midfield before spotting the run of Lichtsteiner down the right channel. He puts too much on his pass, however, allowing Joe Hart to come and claim.
SAVE! Good work from England as they win the ball back inside the Switzerland half, with Barkley immediately giving it to Rooney. The skipper finds himself in a yard of space and only has one thought on his mind, turning and firing an early effort towards goal from 25 yards. Sommer is alert to it, however, and makes the save.
CHANCE! It's Switzerland's turn to threaten now as Rodriguez plays a corner in towards the near post that Xhaka gets to having snuck in front of Barkley. He flicks his header towards the near post, but Hart pushes it away.
England make their second change of the night, and it is an attacking one from Hodgson as he goes for the win here. On comes Harry Kane
, who scored off the bench against San Marino, in place of Shelvey.
UPDATE: Some interesting news from elsewhere in Group E, where San Marino are currently drawing 1-1 in Lithuania. Not only are the minnows on course for a very rare point, but they have also scored their first away goal in 12 years, and their first in a competitive match for more than 14 years.
Meanwhile, Switzerland break forward quickly from defence, with Schar winning the ball off Rooney and continuing his charge upfield. He is released down the left channel, but his dragged shot takes a touch on its way well wide.
The resulting corner eventually falls to the feet of Inler outside the box, but his attempted long-range effort is high and wide of the England goal, and a promising Switzerland attack comes to nothing.
SWITZERLAND SUB: The visitors make their first change of the evening as Breel Embolo comes on in place of Drmic.
SHOT! Milner looks to inject some pace into the attack as he picks the ball up around 25 yards from goal before carrying it to the edge of the area despite being surrounded by red shirts. His eventual shot is a poor one, however, as he drags it well wide of the target.
SAVE! Speculative one from Kane as the ball breaks to him a good 25 yards from goal and with the angle against him. That doesn't put him off, however, as he hits a first-time strike straight into the arms of the keeper.
GOAL! England 1-0 Switzerland (Harry Kane)
England have the breakthrough, and it is Harry Kane who takes his international tally to three goals in four games! Rooney feeds the ball down to the overlapping Shaw on the left channel, and the full-back pulls a low ball back into the box. Kane is hanging around out there and fires a first-time left-footed strike into the bottom corner past a helpless Sommer.
ENGLAND SUB: A third and final change for the home side sees John Stones replace Clyne, with the Everton defender filling in at right-back.
YELLOW CARD! Smalling goes into the book for a foul on Shaqiri, but it is a harsh one from the ref. The United centre-back was in a tussle with the Stoke man before going to ground, but he seemed to get a foot on the ball.
SWITZERLAND SUB: Before the resulting free kick, Switzerland make a change as Haris Seferovic replaces Stocker.
...and that free kick is fired straight into a sturdy England wall by Shaqiri.
He hasn't found his shooting boots for Spurs so far this season, but Kane's international career continues to go from strength to strength. Here he is celebrating a third goal from three substitute appearances for his country.
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Schar made a break forward not too long ago, and this time it is Klose who charges upfield with a barraging run, bouncing off a couple of defenders to make his way into the box. He is just about to pull the trigger, but Milner gets back to make a last-ditch sliding tackle.
SWITZERLAND SUB: Another change from the visitors as Behrami is replaced by Blerim Dzemaili.
A moment of light relief for the crowd as Shaw blocks a Shaqiri cross, sending it straight into the face of the official behind the goal, who looks suspiciously like Matthew McConaughey, incidentally.
SHOT! Another sight of goal for Switzerland as Shaqiri finds himself in space just outside the box. He lines up a shot on his left, but drags the effort a few yards wide of the far post.
PENALTY TO ENGLAND!
Some good feet from Sterling inside the box entices Xhaka to dangle out a leg and bring the winger down. The referee points to the spot, and up steps Wayne Rooney for the record...
GOAL! England 2-0 Switzerland (Wayne Rooney, pen)
He's done it! Wayne Rooney becomes the first England player to ever reach 50 goals for his country, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton as the highest scorer in the history of the national team. That record has stood for 45 years, but it ends from the spot here as Rooney lashes his penalty into the roof of the net, despite the keeper getting a hand to it. What a moment from the skipper, and you'd have to think that there is plenty more to come.
That also makes it seven qualifiers in a row that Rooney has scored in, which is another record. He has had his critics down the years, but that is some achievement and his name will now forever be etched among England's greats.
In the context of the match itself that was a very important goal too. Switzerland had responded well to going behind and were beginning to put England under a bit of pressure, but Rooney's penalty has surely put the game beyond them now. They did come from two goals down in the closing stages at the weekend, but there is no way back for them here.
There will be a minimum of three minutes added time at the end of this match.
England's perfect qualifying record will continue, then, and you'd have to think that with Estonia and Lithuania to come that 10 wins from 10 is all but assured now.
FULL TIME: England 2-0 Switzerland
Another win and another clean sheet for England, but it is a night that will best be remembered for Wayne Rooney breaking Bobby Charlton's goalscoring record with his 50th strike for his country, That came after Harry Kane had given the Three Lions the lead in the second half as Roy Hodgson's side maintained their 100% record in qualifying with a 2-0 victory over Switzerland, who are left still needing four points to qualify.
That is all we have time for this evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
on what was an historic night for Wayne Rooney and England. I will leave you with our match report
, and be sure to stick around for reaction, analysis and player ratings. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!