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England must beware complacency

Published: Thursday 17 June 2004, 10.19CET
After losing to France, England start as favourites in Coimbra against a Switzerland side with "nothing to lose".
by Adam Szreter
from Lisbon

Tournament statistics

EnglandSwitzerland

Goals scored10
 
1
Total attempts55
 
27
Attempts on target32
 
8
Attempts off target13
 
16
Attempts blocked0
 
0
Attempts against woodwork1
 
0
Corners17
 
10
Offsides8
 
7
Yellow cards7
 
10
Red Cards0
2
Fouls committed77
 
61
Fouls suffered66
 
46
 
Published: Thursday 17 June 2004, 10.19CET

England must beware complacency

After losing to France, England start as favourites in Coimbra against a Switzerland side with "nothing to lose".

With the European champions France having won what was expected to be their toughest match, against England, Group B already looks like a three-way fight for second place, and this game will go a long way towards settling it.

Biggest concern
England will start favourites, but the complacency that often afflicts them when facing anything other than the very strongest opponents will undoubtedly be the biggest concern to their followers. Switzerland may be unfancied, but they proved in their opening game against Croatia, when Johann Vogel was dismissed five minutes into the second half, they have the spirit and determination to make up for any technical shortcomings.

Celestini in holding role
The absence of Vogel for this game will certainly be a big blow to Köbi Kuhn and his team, and Olympique de Marseille's Fabio Celestini, introduced following Vogel's red card, will probably be asked to resume in the midfield holding role. But of even greater concern to the Swiss is the continuing inability of veteran striker Stéphane Chapuisat to find the target.

Chapuisat drought
Chapuisat, who will win his 103rd cap, has not scored since Switzerland's first match in qualifying, against Georgia back in September 2002, 16 games ago, and although his ability to provide incisive short passes to his attacking partner Alexander Frei guarantees him a place in the starting lineup, he may give way to the young PSV Eindhoven striker Johan Vonlanthen if things are going against the Swiss.

Tried and trusted
The pace of the Colombian-born Vonlanthen, the creativity of Ricardo Cabanas - suspended for the opening match - and the trickery of Daniel Gygax are all options for Kuhn to explore should he need to. Otherwise the tried and trusted 4-3-1-2 formation that revolves around playmaker Hakan Yakin will be the one that the Swiss coach will look to.

'Nothing to lose'
"I'm sure England's players, and especially the English media, expect this game to be easier than France, but that's our chance," said Kuhn. "England can exert huge pressure, but if we resist in the first 15 minutes they may start to get anxious. We really have nothing to lose."

Win needed
England, having lost to France in added time on Sunday, still know that victory here will leave them needing only need a point from their final game against Croatia, assuming the Croatians succumb to France in Leiria later in the evening. Even a draw would give England a fighting chance, but realistically Sven-Göran Eriksson's team know they must get their first win on the board.

Scholes fit
They were boosted today when Paul Scholes, the pick of their midfield players against France, was deemed more or less certain to be fit following an ankle knock. "I'm almost sure, 100 per cent, that he will be fit for tomorrow," Eriksson said. "He did everything today, even shooting at the end, so he seems OK."

Terry returns
The only change to the team that faced France is likely to be the return to defence of Chelsea FC's John Terry in place of Ledley King, while Owen Hargreaves, Joe Cole and Kieron Dyer will be available to freshen things up in midfield should they be required, as will Darius Vassell up front.

Potent force
Michael Owen, the only England player who appeared the last time these two teams met six years ago, came in for some criticism after the France game. But he remains a potent force, and the way the Swiss central defenders handle Owen and Wayne Rooney may go a long way towards determining the outcome of the match.

England (probable): James; G Neville, Campbell, Terry, A Cole; Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes; Owen, Rooney.

Switzerland (probable): Stiel; Haas, Murat Yakin, Mueller, Spycher; Huggel,Celestini, Wicky; Hakan Yakin; Frei, Chapuisat.

Referee: Valentin Ivanov (RUS)

Last updated: 21/06/04 16.19CET

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