Fresh from getting their qualifying campaign off to the perfect start with a comfortable 4-0 win over Bulgaria, Fabio Capello’s England side now head to Basle to take on Switzerland.
Ottmar Hitzfeld’s Swiss side are ranked 17th in FIFA’s World Rankings, 10 places below England, and as second seeds in the group tonight’s away trip represents the toughest test that the Three Lions will face in qualifying.
Yet if history is anything to go by then Capello need not worry as England have lost only three of 20 meetings going back almost 80 years.
On the other hand, each of these three defeats has come on Swiss soil, although England themselves have won seven in Switzerland.
The nations first met in 1933 when England triumphed 4-0 in a friendly in Berne, with Arsenal legend Cliff Bastin bagging two of the goals.
Friendlies in Zurich in 1938 (2-1) and 1947 (1-0) saw Switzerland claim back-to-back victories, but England hit back with a thumping 6-0 win in 1948 at Highbury.
This started a sequence of six consecutive victories for the Three Lions, including a 2-0 win over the hosts in the group stages of the 1954 World Cup.
The most remarkable of these wins was an 8-1 success at St. Jakob Park, Basle in 1963 which saw Bobby Charlton net a hat-trick in a huge England win.
The sides met in the qualification for the 1972 European Championships with England claiming a 3-2 in Basle before the sides drew 1-1 at Wembley, as England qualified for the championships in Belgium ahead of Switzerland.
1975 saw another friendly in Basle, with goals from Kevin Keegan and Micky Channon giving England a narrow 2-1 win.
England’s 10 match and 34 year unbeaten run against the Swiss came to an end in 1981 Switzerland prevailed 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier in Basle, although in the end it was not enough for them to join England in qualifying for the final tournament in Spain.
A 1995 friendly was notable for English managers of both benches at Terry Venables side beat Roy Hodgson’s Swiss side 3-1 at Wembley.
Fast forward a year and the teams met in competitive action as Wembley hosted the opening match for Euro ’96. This time the Swiss claimed a well-earnt draw with Turkyilmaz converting a late penalty after Alan Shearer had opened the scoring for the home side.
1998 saw a 1-1 friendly draw in Berne as Tottenham’s Ramon Vega scored for the hosts before Paul Merson equalised for England.
The last competitive meeting was in the group stages at Euro 2004 as England won 3-0 in Coimbra with a brace from Wayne Rooney and one from Steven Gerrard.
The most recent match was also the very first of Fabio Capello’s reign as England manager in February 2008, and the Italian got off to a winning start with goals from Jermaine Jenas and Shaun Wright-Phillips claiming a 2-1 win at Wembley.
Thus, the 1981 match remains Switzerland’s last win over England, although it may offer them some hope as it was also their last meeting in Basle where they will play again tonight. However, overall England have won three of four meetings with Switzerland in Basle.
England also played their twice in 1954 World Cup, drawing a group game 4-4 with Belgium and losing in the quarter-finals 4-2 to Uruguay.
England’s away record vs. Switzerland
P11 W7 D1 L3 F26 A10
England’s overall record vs. Switzerland
P20 W13 D4 L3 F47 A16
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