Euro 2016 Qualifier Preview and Prediction: England vs Switzerland

Competition: European Championship Qualifying – England vs. Switzerland (Group E)

Venue: Wembley Stadium – Tuesday, September 8 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET) 

Match Odds: England – Draw – Switzerland

Match Preview

England host Switzerland in their latest European Championship qualifier on Tuesday evening in a battle between the top two sides in Group E.

The Three Lions beat minnows San Marino 6-0 on Saturday to guarantee a Euro 16 slot at next summer’s finals in France and can now guarantee a top spot finish with a victory over Switzerland.

Roy Hodgson’s men have won all seven of their qualifying games so far, conceding just three times, and have not lost a match since the World Cup.

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England have netted 12 times in their last three qualifying games at Wembley and will hope to be in free scoring form once again here against their toughest opponents in Group E.

Switzerland sit second in the group and are unlikely to finish in any other position in qualifying. That will see them make Euro 2016 though, which was the primary objective heading into the campaign.

A 2-0 home loss to England in their opening qualifying game didn’t get things off to the best start but they have won their last five on the bounce in qualifying and recorded a 3-2 win at home to Slovenia on Saturday, coming from 2-0 down to seal three vital points.

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This will be the 24th meeting between the two nations and England will be much more confident based on history as they have won 15 of the previous 23 matches, losing just three – none of which came on home soil.

Team News

England are likely to make a few changes to the team that won in San Marino, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Harry Kane all hoping to start. Theo Walcott bagged a brace from the bench and could replace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the starting lineup. Wayne Rooney will likely spearhead the attack as he looks to score his record setting 50th goal in an England shirt.

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Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic saw two of his substitutes score all three of the team’s goals on Saturday, so Josip Drmic and Valentin Stocker will both hope to start. Xherdan Shaqiri is the star player and will be a threat, while fellow Premier League players Valon Behrami and Gokhan Inler could start in midfield.

Key Points

England’s last five: W/D/D/W/W

Switzerland’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: England have not lost to Switzerland since May 1981 and have never lost to the Swiss on home soil.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – A goal on Tuesday night would make Wayne Rooney the highest scoring Englishmen in history. He is tied on 49 with Sir Bobby Charlton after converting a penalty in San Marino on Saturday and could get number 50 here.

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Score Prediction

England 3-1 Switzerland – Switzerland travel to Wembley knowing a win gives them a slim chance of winning Group E, but that’s unlikely to happen. The Three Lions are playing with confidence and should dispatch their Swiss opponents with relative ease here.

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Toronto’s Jozy Altidore apologises for USMNT dismissal

Toronto FC‘s Jozy Altidore has apologised for his reckless sending off in the US Men’s National Team‘s 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Tuesday.

“I want to apologize to our fans and my teammates,” Altidore said after the game.

“Emotion got the best of me and I put our team in a tough position. That’s not the type of role model I want to be. All credit to the boys for grinding it out and earning a positive result.”

Altidore received a second yellow card for dissent towards referee Luca Banti, leaving his side to play out the final 20 minutes a man down.

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Just 12 minutes after his sending off, the USMNT conceded the equaliser, adding to Altidore’s frustration. But a 1-1 draw with one of Europe’s better sides isn’t to be looked down upon and he can make amends with his Toronto side this weekend as they face Chicago Fire.

Jurgen Klinsmann told reporters after the game that he warned his players about the referee.

“I told the players, even at halftime, ‘Guys, you can do probably fouls, you can do certain things, but you can’t joke with an Italian referee. It’s unfortunate but it happened and when you get sent off for a verbal comment with an Italian referee, then you get your punishment,” Klinsmann said with a smile.

Did Jozy Altidore’s red card cost the USMNT the game?

International Preview and Prediction: Switzerland vs USA

Competition: International Friendly – Switzerland vs. USA

Venue: Stadion Letzigrund, Switzerland – Tuesday, March 31 – 12:00 ET (17:00 BST)

Match Odds: Switzerland 1/1 – Draw 23/10 – USA 13/5

Match Preview

The USA complete their international break with a trip to Zurich to play Switzerland in what is another tough test for an experimental US Men’s National Team squad.

Switzerland are currently ranked as the twelfth best national side in the FIFA World Rankings and are higher than both Chile and Denmark – two sides who have already beaten the USMNT in 2015.

Jurgen Klinsmann is without key players Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and Clint Dempsey to name just a few, so the squad isn’t at full strength. That means this is a perfect opportunity for fringe players to play themselves into Klinsmann’s Gold Cup plans and it will be important to try and put in a better performance than in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Denmark.

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After a poor recent run that has seen the USMNT lose four of their last five, a lot of fans are calling for improved results and a more positive feel going into a tournament that the USA are expected to win this summer.

Klinsmann is clearly experimenting and some might even say he still doesn’t know his best team yet. A result and a good performance with it are much needed on Tuesday afternoon.

Switzerland come into this friendly having won 3-0 against Estonia on Friday night in their European Championship qualifier.

Switzerland are now unbeaten in their last four, and have enough firepower to test a quite fragile USA defence. Players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka will be tough to contain and Nicklas Bendtner’s hat-trick last Wednesday proves there are problems at the back.

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Switzerland currently lie joint-second in Group E of their European Championship qualifying group, behind England and are a well-oiled team that have scored 13 goals in their last four, conceding just twice.

This will be the eighth meeting between the two nations. The USMNT won their only ever game against Switzerland in the most recent meeting in 2007, courtesy of a late Michael Bradley goal.

Team News

Switzerland have no injury concerns going into this one and they’re expected to name an unchanged side from the team that beat Estonia 3-0 on Friday. Johan Djourou and Fabian Schar are expected to continue at centre-back, while Xherdan Shaqiri should continue at the point of a diamond in midfield.

The USA will be without Aron Johannsson after he withdrew with an infection, so College star Jordan Morris has been called up as cover. Jozy Altidore could play upfront on his own or could partner Gyasi Zardes up front if Klinsmann moves Zardes into his more familiar role this time after he started on the right side of midfield against Denmark. Changes from that defeat last week are expected as Klinsmann experiments for the upcoming Gold Cup in July.

Key Points

Switzerland’s last five: L/W/W/D/W

USA’s last five: L/L/L/W/L

Key Stat: USA has lost a lead on four occasions in their last three matches, conceding four of the six goals in the second-half.

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Key Player: Xherdan Shaqiri – The Swiss playmaker will be a huge problem for the USMNT to deal with, and they may have to play an extra man in midfield to try and contain him.

Score Prediction

Switzerland 2-1 USA – Klinsmann’s side will need to put in a better display than they did against Denmark and they are expected to do so. Though this Switzerland side are very strong and are on a good run at the moment. They should edge it but the USA must make sure they can take some positives from the game.