Capello's Modern Day Hacienda: Switzerland 1 England 3
After a comfortable yet mildly impressive win over an unimaginative Bulgaria, England put to bed, on a temporary basis only, no doubt, the nonsense surrounding Capello's leadership with a notable 3-1 away win over a normally defensively tight Swiss side.
Both teams lined up in a 4-4-2 system, Rooney sitting deep off the front man Defoe, just as the pair shaped up against Bulgaria on Friday night creating a 4-4-1-1 formation at times.
England got off to a great start, Rooney tapped in from a few yards out after Walcott and Glen Johnson successfully bobbed and bumbled the ball down the right hand side. However the goal came at a cost to Theo Walcott, twisting his ankle whilst making a smart run to take central defender von Bergen out of the play, providing the space which made Rooney's job an easy one.
Walcott's misery was Adam Johnson's joy, replacing the injured Arsenal man, increasing the number of Manchester City representatives on the field to 5 out of the 11 England players. The pacey winger instantly plunged himself in to the thick of the game, cutting in from the right skilfully, dancing beyond the Swiss defensive line often.
England were the much better side in the first half, deserving the 1-0 advantage. Switzerland with the exception of a brief flurry late on, offered very little, clearly struggling to handle England's movement on and off the ball.
Not that the first 45 minutes were bad, but the game really revved up in the second half. Swiss full back Stephan Lichtsteiner collected a second yellow for late sliding tackle on James Milner as he waddled towards the goal line. The sending off gave Lichtsteiner some time to ponder his foolish first yellow, received a few minutes earlier for consistently berating the officials, as well as ignoring the numerous warnings.
England taking advantage of the extra man doubled the lead, Adam Johnston ran on to a perfectly weighted Gerrard pass, rounded Benaglio to score his second goal in two games.
FC Basel's hot young prospect Xherdan Shaqiri, on in place of Xavier Margairaz at the beginning of the second half, made a telling introduction, firing a swirling bullet passed the stranded England goalkeeper, Joe Hart from 20 yards, to reduce Switzerland's deficit to 1-2. Hart himself, gave reminders to some that he was still on route towards fulfilling his much discussed potential with a couple of mishandled wobbles.
With ten minutes to go Capello replaced Rooney with Shaun Wright-Phillips, switched Milner central just off Bent, with Wright-Phillips occupying the wide areas.
Bent added a third late on, Ashley Cole, an attacking outlet for England on the left hand for most of the game, briefly placed in an area of the pitch more akin to a classic number 10 position than a left back, laid a delightful ball in to Bent who was positioned in space on the edge of the area with plenty of time on his side. Bent set himself steady before driving the ball low and hard in to the narrow gap available between keeper Benaglio and the near post. Any player who truly deserved an England goal, Bent was such!
England ran out well deserved 3-1 winners, for Capello it's two wins from two, pouring cold water on those who had set him up for a fall from these games.
Capello, as always, will keep his feet on the ground, others still lamenting the events of the summer may ask the question why England once again look impressive. The question is somewhat pointless as time has passed.
However, England on the back of a heavy World Cup inquest have won two Euro 2012 qualifiers at a time of the year when players are arguably fresher when compared to June. The pressure to win, albeit high, is still less than the pressure at a World Cup Finals, where the recovery time from a bad result is far shorter. Equally the quality of opposition in qualifying stages, is far inferior to the quality faced at a Finals.
Capello takes his job very seriously, his focus is on the initial steps of the long road ahead, it feels like a sensible place to focus.
Gerrard and Barry provided yet more evidence England's midfield is better balanced without Lampard, one to watch come October.
Another interesting observation - on the field of play at the end of the match was that England were loaded with six Manchester City players; Hart, Lescott, Barry, Milner, Adam Johnson and Wright-Phillips. Giving food for thought?!
If Capello was to find a system which couples the heavy desires of the national team, with the financially infused ambitions of Manchester City, together they may be able form a new order, which may lead Fabio Capello's happy Tuesday, to him potentially claiming one day, "I am the resurrection"?
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