England’s narrow win over Switzerland was a case of offense, defense and management coming together. There are still problems to be resolved in key areas, but the team is trending upwards.
The “England beat Switzerland, but Southgate’s side remain a work in progress in key areas” is a news article that discusses England’s win against Switzerland. The article goes on to discuss the weaknesses of Southgate’s side and how they need to improve. Read more in detail here: sports.
LONDON, United Kingdom — These friendly matches are all about experimenting, and England’s 2-1 triumph over Switzerland on Saturday underlined the problem Gareth Southgate is grappling with ahead of the World Cup finals this summer.
On the one hand, Southgate guided England to the semifinals of the last World Cup and the Euros final last year using a combination of patience and pragmatism, mostly in the form of a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 formation. Southgate laced his line-up with an underlying caution from the start on Saturday, perhaps aware of playing an inexperienced squad, with Marc Guehi and Kyle Walker-Peters making their senior debuts against a side undefeated in 11 previous internationals.
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England were mainly unimpressive, going behind when Breel Embolo knocked in a 22nd-minute opening. Although Conor Gallagher, making his first start, was diligent in midfield, England were largely lackluster. On the balance of play, they deserved to be down at the interval, but Luke Shaw equalized for the visitors when Fabian Frei gave the ball away cheaply under pressure from Phil Foden.
But it wasn’t until just after the hour mark, when Southgate made four substitutions, bringing in Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling, Declan Rice, and another debutant, Tyrick Mitchell, that England began to play with the offensive fluency expected of them.
The winning goal came from a penalty granted after a VAR review — Steven Zuber was found to have handled in the area — allowing Harry Kane the opportunity to equal Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 49 England goals and move four behind Wayne Rooney’s. However, it was a reward for England’s revived danger after Southgate’s intervention, and it supplied further evidence for those who want him to remove the brakes in Qatar.
Southgate said, “The concept was to try and get the guys in the squad through the two games in parts of the field where they would be particularly comfortable.” “We were a little too fast to push the centre-backs, allowing too much room to open up. The change of play might therefore be an issue. We discussed modifying it after an hour since we knew it would be a better approach to finish the game.”
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“With his enthusiasm and aggression to press, Conor is a player who is contagious,” Southgate said. “On a few of occasions, I felt he might have been a little more tidy with the ball.” That would be the first time in a long time that neither Rice nor Phillips had started, and it was critical that we were able to see that because they’ve been crucial to the team’s defensive solidity and balance.
“I believe it was a very useful exercise for us, and that’s why you want that kind of competition.”
“We could play [games against] lower-level teams, but it wouldn’t teach us anything, and we’d rather be stretched. It jeopardizes your record, but that’s beside the point: we’re wanting to perform well in tournaments.”
Kane moved closer to breaking Wayne Rooney’s goals record with his 49th international goal, tying him with Sir Bobby Charlton and only four short of the Derby County manager, and Southgate quipped afterwards that he’d want the Tottenham striker to do so in the World Cup final in December. But, without a more productive run from their number nine, England will need more power from other players to reach that far. It’s another issue Southgate wants to address, and despite a 21-game undefeated streak in 90 minutes, it’s still a work in progress.
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