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England vs Switzerland

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

We were finally back with some international football for the first time in 2022, as England hosted Switzerland at Wembley on Saturday 26th of March.

It was a 5.30 kick off but we got there early as I was meeting my friend Kai beforehand. We normally park in the red car park, but this was unavailable so we pre-booked the blue one instead, I would definitely recommend this one as it is a shorter walking distance to the stadium, and we didn’t have to wait for it to be reopened after. We sat in another new area of the stadium, again on the lower tier but this time just to the left of the dugout so had a great view of the whole pitch and could also see the action happening on the bench, although it was a lot quieter than the other areas.

The squad Gareth named was similar to the last camp but did see a few new additions, the ones that stand out for me was the 3 Crystal Palace boys Conor Gallagher, Marc Guehi and late addition Tyrick Mitchell. We were one of the most represented clubs in the named squad, such a proud moment for all those involved in Palace, and it really shows the great things Vieira is building. Walker-Peters also received a late call up for his first senior camp too. Gutted for Bukayo Saka as he had to drop out of the squad after testing positive for COVID, he has been incredible this season so was one of the ones who really deserved the reward of playing for his country. Some players I was surprised to see were Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish as Southgate always says he goes off form ... but those three names completely contradict the statement. In contrast some players who deserved to be in the team are Jadon Sancho, Fikayo Tomori and he could have given Jacob Ramsey his first senior call up as it was only a friendly and didn’t have anything to play for competition wise. The starting 11 was - Pickford, White (who replaced Stones after he got injured in the warmup), Coady, Guehi, Walker-Peters, Henderson, Gallagher, Shaw, Foden, Mount and Kane. 2 debutants and 2 Palace players, things you love to see! Mitchell was also named on the bench as he waited for his first England cap.

Before the game, the England crest was revealed on the centre of the pitch by some army soldiers as the players entered the pitch to a full Wembley Stadium. The noise before an England match is very special as the English pride starts to kick in even more. During the national anthems both ends of the stadium held up coloured paper to create two flags, one of the St George’s flag and one for Ukraine; this was followed by the players joining together to think of the people in Ukraine as they had a photo with a Ukraine flag which read ‘Peace’ on it. Switzerland got us underway, and we were first shooting towards the goal on our right side. Our last game was a 10-0 win but with a tougher opponent this would be a much more competitive game for us. England started well on the front foot, but as the game continued we allowed Switzerland to grow into the game and cause us more issues than we would have liked. They started pretty dirty with multiple fouls on Mount in quick succession, but the ref had a decent game making the correct decision throughout. A great chance for Gallagher to kick start his first England start with a goal came in the first quarter of the game, Foden and Kane linked up nicely after a great ball up from White, Kane could release Conor down the right wing, he cut back inside into the box and had a try at goal but it was headed over the bar by the Swiss defender. Xhaka tried his luck from long range after not being closed down, but it only forced a good low save from Pickford which could be cleared by Guehi, in the follow up play we struggled to clear our lines and still had pressure applied onto us; disappointingly we was punished by this. Switzerland continued to pass around us before playing a good final ball over towards the back stick where Ben White was with Embalo, the ball flew straight over White who misjudged the height and onto the head of Embalo as he directed it into the far side netting leaving Pickford totally flat footed, putting his team 1-0 and leaving England on the back foot. In the replays it does look like the player in the first phase of play was offside by VAR didn’t see anything wrong and we were still behind. Somehow some Swiss fans got into our section, they were not afraid to show their nationality when they scored as they were jumping around, not quite sure how that was allowed. This gave the Swiss increased confidence as they continued to put us under pressure and create chances. A near immediate corner caused a lot of stress for the England fans around the stadium, a great ball was whipped in to the back stick where Frei was waiting and could send a shot towards the roof of the net, Pickford pulled off an incredible save tipping the ball onto the bar, it bounced back into the box where there was a bit of pin ball action but it could finally be calmed down as the ball blazed over the bar by the Swiss attacker. Huge credit must go to Pickford as his fingertips were keeping us in the game so far! Kyle Walker-Peters also had a chance to get on the scoresheet, Foden fizzed a ball across goal to the far post where the right back was waiting and had a great first time shot, it was just kept out by the post! It wouldn’t have counted anyway as Foden was offside in the build-up, but it woke everyone up a bit after a quiet section of the game. Switzerland didn’t stop fighting back as we were under more pressure from another corner which initially hit the near post, the ball then flew out into the path of Rodriguez who had a long range shot which needed a save from Pickford, it was finally cleared out for a goal kick, but some real nervy moments in the defence. Just before half time as we entered stoppage time a chance finally went our way. Kyle Walker-Peters made a great interception leaving the ball to be picked up by Gallagher just inside the box, he attempted a pass to an on running Mason Mount but it wasn’t the most accurate, Mount saw the run from Luke Shaw and left the ball to him as he had a first time shot from outside the box sending the ball into the back of the net at the near post! Back level going into the break, and first goal involvement for Conor!

A pretty boring first 45 minutes with both teams having large portions of possession, England struggled to create any clear chances (managing to get a goal from nothing) and the defence just managed to keep it at only one goal conceded, with large amounts of credit going to Pickford. Switzerland was definitely the better team as we continued to struggle to get the ball down the left with Foden leaving most of our phases of play to go down the right, Gallagher and Kyle Walker-Peters linked up nicely on multiple occasions which was great to see. It was a friendly so was hoping for a lot of changes throughout the next 45. During the second half the England players wore shirts without names on the back to draw attention and create awareness for people living with dementia and used the shirts to raise money for Alzheimer’s after the match.

England started the second half much brighter, whatever Gareth said in the break must have worked. Early in the half Gallagher played an exceptionally weighted ball scooped over the top and into the path of Kane in the box, the keeper came out, so the shot went straight off him and out for a corner. Mount whipped the set piece in and Guehi was on the receiving end, his header was more of a flick on towards the back stick, Coady was sliding in at the back post but it was just too far away so the ball went straight out for a goal kick. The first set of substitutions came in the 61st minute as Tyrick Mitchell, Declan Rice, Raheem Sterling, and Jack Grealish came on in replace of Luke Shaw, Conor Gallagher, Kyle Walker-Peters and Mason Mount; a very proud moment seeing Mitchell make his debut after only being in the Premier League for 2 seasons! If Conor had of stayed on the pitch 3 Palace players would have been sharing the pitch, absolutely insane! The subs changed it to a back 4 with White now on the right taking over Walker-Peters position. Within 10 minutes of being on Mitchell already created a great chance for Kane, Tyrick whipped an inch perfect ball into Kane, but his header was straight into the hands of the keeper. The paper aeroplanes came out once again, this along with the Mexican wave is like a tradition for the Wembley fans now! As the game went on it was looking more and more likely it was just going to remain a draw, thankfully games can be changed in seconds! England had a corner which met the head of Guehi once again he tried to header it back into the centre of the box, but it was stopped by an outreached arm. The players protested to the ref and after a long wait (where the fans in the stadium had no clue what was happening) the ref was advised to go over to the screen and make a decision for himself. It only took a brief look and he awarded us a penalty after an illegal hand ball as Zuber’s arm was in an unnatural position. Captain Kane stepped up to take and with no doubt made it 2-1 taking a step closer to Rooney’s record, as he completed a great comeback. Another Palace player creating the second goal 👀. Bellingham was waiting to come on before the penalty, so he finally replaced Foden with 10 minutes to go, Phil was incredibly quiet throughout the whole game and definitely was not his best performance for England. The final change followed shortly after as Watkins came on in replace of goal scorer Harry Kane. The Swiss heads seemed to have lowered as England had 2 quick succession chances, but they were eventually cleared by the defence. And that was it, it was all over under the Wembley arch, England 2 - Switzerland 1!

Great way to start the year hopefully the start of a strong 2022. It may have only been a friendly, but it gave Gareth an opportunity to see and assess the boys in action ahead of the World Cup at the end of the year as he begins the tough job of selecting the squad. A much better second half, still definitely were not at our best and there’s things for Gareth to work on but there were some great performances on show. Gallagher was incredible the whole time he was on the pitch he seemed to be everywhere and was setting the tone for the rest, just like he does for Palace, so it is great to see he’s confident enough and has been given the freedom to carry on playing his way. 100% my MOTM, and he did pick up the award. Extremely proud of all three Palace boys, they were all great, confident and have shown they have some bright futures! Kyle Walker-Peters too had a great debut and like I previously mentioned was a key part in our attacks down the right; if only his and Guehi’s chances went in!

England are next in action on Tuesday against Ivory Coast, gutted I’m not going as 4 Palace players could be sharing the pitch under the Wembley arch (one of which would be opposing player Zaha), but I shall be supporting the England boys from home!

Match stats:

• England had a total of 52.1% possession, Switzerland had 47.9%

• England had a total of 9 shots with 5 on target.

• Switzerland had 12 shots with 4 on target.

The next game I’m going to is against Arsenal on Monday 4th of April so look out for that post!

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx


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