Getting to know the opposition: Switzerland
Published : 07 Sep 2010 11:01:23Rss feed
After Friday night's emphatic 4-0 victory against Bulgaria in the opening game of their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, England's next task comes in the form of Switzerland.
Here, Football.co.uk tells you everything you need to know about tonight's opponents.
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Ranked 17th in the FIFA World rankings, Switzerland provided the first major shock of this summer's World Cup by defeating eventual champions Spain 1-0 in the opening game of Group H.
That victory proved to be the high point of a disappointing tournament for the Swiss who failed to qualify for the knockout stages after defeat to Chile and a goalless draw against Honduras.
Despite an early departure from South Africa, manager Ottmar Hitzfeld remains in charge and his tactical nous and demand for defensive discipline will undoubtedly be England’s greatest obstacle in Basle.
Switzerland set a World Cup record by going 559 minutes without conceding a goal and will be hopeful of nullifying the attacking threat posed by Wayne Rooney and co.
Hitzfeld's men succeeded in stifling Australia in a friendly fixture on Friday, providing further evidence of their defensive strength but the same cannot be said of their potency in the attacking third.
Switzerland have failed to find the back of the net more than once in each of their previous 10 games while record goal scorer and captain Alexander Frei is without an international goal in over a year.
Frei will almost certainly be partnered in attack by 22-year-old Bayer Leverkusen forward Eren Derdiyok whose international strike rate of two goals in 22 games is unlikely to have England's backline quaking in their boots.
Two of tonight's expected starting XI, Reto Ziegler and Gelson Fernandes, should be familiar to Premier League spectators after turning out for Tottenham and Manchester City respectively.
Switzerland have qualified for the previous two European Championship finals (automatically as joint hosts in 2008), failing to make it past the group stage on each occasion.
England are unbeaten in their previous six games against the Swiss and hold a 13-2 advantage in all competitions.
The two nations last met in a friendly at Wembley on February 06 2008 with England securing a 2-1 victory in Capello's first game in charge.
Jermaine Jenas and Shaun Wright-Phillips were the scorers for the Three Lions either side of a debut goal from Derdiyok.
Probable starting XI against England: Benaglio, Lichsteiner, Grichting, Von Berger, Ziegler, Degen, Inler, Margairaz, Fernandes, Derdiyok, Frei