Switzerland 0-0 England
England win 6-5 on penalties
England goalkeeper scored one penalty and saved another as England won third place in the UEFA Nations League with a shoot-out win over Switzerland.
For the second time in 12 months, England were in a third-place play-off, last year in the World Cup and now in the UEFA Nations League at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques. And in the 120 minutes of open play, they hit the woodwork four times, so in the end, the Three Lions got their just reward.
Switzerland had the better of their semi-final for long periods but were eventually undone by a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick. But they can’t have any complaints today having been outplayed by England from start to finish.
The UEFA Nations League betting odds predicted an England Portugal final but for Gareth Southgate’s men, this was their chance to end the season on a high.
Highlights of the game
Switzerland had the first chance of the match but Kevin Mbabu blazed over; and then England came within a whisker of taking the lead in just the second minute when Harry Kane raided down the right wing and lifted a clever lob over Yann Sommer; but the Swiss keeper was relieved to watch the ball cannon off the bar and to safety.
Raheem Sterling then had a glorious chance to put the Three Lions ahead, on 14 minutes, after good work from Kane he found himself in on goal, but instead of putting his laces through the ball he shot tamely at Sommer.
And the Manchester City player had another great opportunity on the half hour when Trent Alexander-Arnold put in a pinpoint cross, but Sterling swung his foot at fresh air as the ball skidded agonisingly by.
England’s midfield was over-run by the Netherlands in their semi-final defeat, but they were all over the Swiss in the first half, and when Alexander Arnold put in another superb cross Dele Alli should have scored, but couldn’t keep his header down.
But the sloppy defending which cost England so dearly against the Netherlands gave Switzerland their best chance of the half. Fabian Delph was exposed in defence and when Remo Freuler put Haris Seferovic through on goal, only a last-ditch challenge from Harry Maguire saved England.
Brazil -2.50 Asian Handicap @ 2.11
Under 2.75 @ 2.04
Total Goal 2-3 @ 1.93
Third Line text
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
Sommer kept the scores level with a world-class save ten minutes into the second half. When Danny Rose put in a dangerous ball Fabian Schar could only divert the ball towards his own goal but the keeper stretched to tip it onto the post.
And then as the Swiss switched defence into attack Granit Xhaka fired at Pickford but the Everton stopper made a good save.
Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri had been superb for Switzerland against Portugal but was quieter today and limped off just after the hour nursing a calf strain, replaced by Steven Zuber.
Sterling had his third big chance of the game when England broke quickly and when the ball was squared he chose not to hit it the first time and it ran to safety. Then Zuber had a chance for Switzerland but shot tamely wide when his opportunity came.
England thought they broke the deadlock on 84 minutes. Raheem Sterling crossed for Alli and his header crashed against the bar, and when substitute Callum Wilson lifted the loose ball into the net the 15,000 England fans celebrated. But VAR, as it did in the semi-final, broke their hearts. Wilson was adjudged to have fouled in the build-up, but it looked soft.
In extra-time, Alexander-Arnold put in another superb cross, but again Sterling failed to convert. Sommer kept the scores level with a brilliant double save from Sterling and Alli and England looked to be the only side capable of winning it. But the woodwork saved Switzerland for the fourth time when Sterling’s beautiful free kick crashed against the bar.
And so to penalties…
Maguire and Zuber both scored and Ross Barkley chipped in a cool Panenka. Granit Xhaka rolled in his spot kick to make it 2-2.
Sommer got close to Jadon Sancho’s penalty but not close enough and Amanji levelled for the Swiss. It hadn’t been Sterling’s day but he delivered.
Pickford went the right way but couldn’t stop Mbabu’s effort and then the England keeper took a penalty himself and slammed it home. Schar was cool as you like to make it 5-5.
Eric Dier scored to make it 6-5 and then Pickford saved Josip Drmic’s penalty.
Yann Sommer in action for Switzerland during the UEFA Nations League match against England
The pre-match SBOBET odds had the draw at 3.30, but England were desperately unlucky not to win in normal and extra time.
The Champions League final featuring two Premier League teams undoubtedly interrupted England’s preparation for the Nations League semi-final and Southgate made seven changes to his side. And they certainly looked the brighter side in the first half, with three clear cut chances and while Switzerland registered five shots, only once did they really threaten Pickford’s goal.
That pattern continued but England couldn’t break through, but the Three Lions are unbeaten in 12 internationals against Switzerland since 1954.
So England finish in third place, and now the Netherlands take on Portugal for the title this evening; so we’ll be right back with all the UEFA Nations League highlights for that game.
And then it’s back to Euro 2020 qualifying and, after the start of the Premier League season, England will host Bulgaria and then Kosovo in September, while Switzerland visits the Republic of Ireland and then hosts the minnows of Gibraltar.
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