Under-21 Euro 2017 Qualifying
England 3 Ward-Prowse (pen,82), Watmore (85), Akpom (90+1) 1 Switzerland Tarashaj (45)
Duncan Watmore and Chuba Akpom inspired England to a late rally as they overcame their Suisse counterparts at Brighton’s Amex stadium last night.
Both Watmore and Akpom got on the score-sheet, but it was the Sunderland youngster who breathed some much needed excitement into the proceedings.
It was looking as though Gareth Southgate’s men were going to come away with nothing. But the inspired substitution of Watmore made sure the three points were England’s.
After the disappointing draw away to Bosnia last week, it was vital England got something from what was the first of a double header against the Suisse.
With the encounter being played at the Amex, the England players could have no excuses over the quality of the playing surface, and as the game started James Ward-Prowse looked to orchestrate England’s attacks.
Under Southgate England are encouraged to play a possession based game, tiring the opposition down, waiting for the opportune time to strike.
But in the first-half England were largely frustrated by Switzerland who defended well, but also looked a handful going forward.
The duo of Haris Tabakovic and Shani Tarashaj were Moser Hienz’s most dangerous men; the tall striker Tabakovic did have the ball in the net, after a superb volley found its way past Jordan Pickford, but the Suisse celebrations were short-lived as the no.9 was offside.
For all England’s possession; it was the Suisse who were creating the better chances, and just before half-time Tarashaj broke the deadlock.
The winger got on the end of a long ball, and directed the ball beyond Pickford and into the net, but unluckily for him, the force of Pickford’s challenge meant he couldn’t continue and was stretchered off.
With Switzerland leading, it was vitally important England found a breakthrough early in the second-half; but that didn’t happen and with time running out Switzerland were more than worthy of the three points.
But the game swung on its head when England were awarded a penalty when substitute Watmore danced his way into the area, only to be fouled by Yvon Nganoma.
Ward-Prowse scored the resulting penalty and then shortly afterwards Watmore scored a deflected effort which put England in the driving seat.
Watmore then capped off an impressive cameo by setting up another substitute Akpom; after getting to the by-line Watmore cut it back for Akpom who calmly slotted the ball into the corner.
In the end England got the job done and gained a valuable three points, but Switzerland done themselves no harm, and with the sides meeting on March 5 expect another entertaining encounter.
England – Pickford, Iorfa, Targett, Baker, Chambers, Chalobah, Swift, Ward-Prowse (c), Solanke (Forster-Caskey), Loftus-Cheek (Watmore), March (Akpom)
Subs – Aina, Walton, Cargill, Woodrow
Switzerland – Nganoma, Hadergjonaj, Angha, Akanji, Gulen, Bertone, Garcia, Zakaria (Ajeti), Tabakovic, Araz (Custodio), Tarashaj (Untersee)
Subs – Salvi, Wuthrich, Follonier, Khelifi