All three of England’s debutants staked an early claim for Qatar with Conor Gallagher in particular stealing the show as England beat Switzerland 2-1 at Wembley.
England looked in cruise control in the early going but were stung when Breel Embolo headed Switzerland in front. The striker pulled off into a pocket of space between Ben White and Kyle Walker-Peters before guiding Xherdan Shaqiri’s accurate cross inside the far post.
England’s deficit would’ve quickly doubled if not for Jordan Pickford pulling off a spectacular reaction save to deny Fabian Frei’s fierce volley. The stopper pushed the strike onto the crossbar, with Switzerland hitting the woodwork once again soon after direct from a corner.
England would make Switzerland pay for failing to double their advantage when pulling level on the stroke of half time. Foden’s pressing prompted a hurried clearance which Walker-Peters intercepted. The ball fell to Gallagher whose cut-back was rifled home by the onrushing Luke Shaw.
The hosts were awarded a late penalty when Steven Zuber was penalised for blocking a Marc Guehi header with his arm. Harry Kane made no mistake from the spot, tucking his finish inside the post to give England a 2-1 victory.
Jordan Pickford: Blameless for Switzerland’s goal. Superb reaction save to tip a fierce Frei strike onto the crossbar from close range. 7/10
Ben White: Late inclusion after John Stones picked up an injury in the warm-up. Caught under the ball for Embolo’s opener with the striker finding a pocket of space between he and Walker-Peters.
Switched to right-back when Southgate rung the changes and looked more than capable in the unfamiliar position. Bombed forward late on and threatened to provide a winner. 6
Conor Coady: Did little wrong individually but was part of a makeshift backline that struggled to contain the Swiss attackers in the first half especially. Improved as England collectively upped the tempo after the break and made it his mission to keep Embolo quiet. 7
Marc Guehi: Pocketed Shaqiri in an early duel that will have settled any nerves. Showed great awareness to sniff out the danger when sweeping a Pickford parry to safety. That intervention prevented a certain tap-in for a Swiss forward when the scores were still 0-0. Attacked England’s set pieces with gusto and was the pick of the centre-backs. 8
Kyle Walker-Peters: Pushed forward when he could and grew into the game with each passing minute. Rattled the post when teed up by Foden but would’ve seen the offside flag curtail his celebrations anyway.
Showed excellent anticipation when intercepting the clearance that led to England’s equaliser. A constant livewire down the right before making way for the final half hour. 8
Jordan Henderson: Solid if not spectacular from the Liverpool skipper. Tried to marshal those around him but a England were far from the well-oiled machine he’s used to leading at Anfield. 6
Conor Gallagher: Lung-bursting run to press the Swiss goalkeeper inside two minutes set the tone for the debutant Snapped into an early tackle and quickly got his head up to further show he won’t be phased by the big stage.
At the heart of most things England did well in the attacking areas and was the pick of the bunch for the Three Lions in the first half. Grabbed the assist for Shaw’s equaliser.
Showcased his influence at both ends of the pitch after the break when cutting out a through ball that would’ve seen Ruben Vargas go through on goal. Comfortably England’s best player before being given a breather for the final 30 minutes. 9 (Man of the match)
Luke Shaw: Failed to get close enough to Shaqiri when allowing the playmaker to whip in an inch-perfect cross for Embolo’s opener. More than made up for that error on the stroke of half time when rifling England level from distance. 7
What a HIT!! ☄️
Luke Shaw equalises for England vs Switzerland just before half-time! 🏴 pic.twitter.com/oS1YnWCLgM
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) March 26, 2022
Phil Foden: Buzzed about with energy and hustled a Swiss defender into the mistake that teed up England’s equaliser. 7
Mason Mount: Lively start but struggled to stamp his authority on the first half once Switzerland took the lead. Replaced by Grealish mid-way through the second half. 6
Harry Kane: Linked the play well as he’s done at Tottenham all season with England’s first real chance coming through his distribution. Clinical from the spot to pull level with Bobby Charlton for second in the list of all-time goals for England (49). Next up: Wayne Rooney (53). 8
Tyrick Mitchell (On for Shaw, 61m): Stuck to his task and helped England see off late Swiss pressure. 6
Declan Rice (On for Gallagher, 61m): Added greater control to the midfield. 6
Jack Grealish (On for Mount, 61m): Greeted with a huge reception from the Wembley crowd but struggled to get going. 6
Raheem Sterling (On for Walker-Peters, 61m): Minimal impact. 6
Jude Bellingham (On for Foden, 80m): N/A
Ollie Watkins (On for Kane, 88m): N/A