England and Switzerland will compete for a third-place finish in the inaugural UEFA Nations League when they meet in the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes on Sunday (2pm, live on Sky Sports).
Both teams were defeated 3-1 in their semi-final encounters. A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick saw Portugal down Switzerland. England eventually lost out to the Netherlands in extra-time after the teams had played out a 1-1 draw during the initial 90 minutes of play.
While both teams would have preferred to be in the final, it is difficult to believe that they will be too worried about failing to reach the climax of the competition that is, after all, little more than a glorified friendly for the top nations. It does provide a valuable opportunity for lower-ranked colleagues to qualify for the European Championship.
If there was disappointment afterwards within the England ranks it was primarily a result of the way the match was lost. They took a first-half lead through a Marcus Rashford penalty, only for the Netherlands to equalise 15 minutes from time. England thought they had won it late on, only for Jesse Lingard’s goal to be ruled out for offside. Then, in extra-time, a couple of bad individual errors allowed their opponents through to score the game-winning goals.
Gareth Southgate was quick to support the guilty parties – John Stones and Ross Barkley – in his post-match comments, partially putting their lapses down to fatigue and a lack of match sharpness. He was also keen to reposition the defeat as an opportunity to learn and improve. England’s inability to control the game effectively once ahead was certainly an issue that will need further attention going forward.
With little really now at stake, with three months to go until England’s next fixture, and at the end of a long season, Southgate will be keen to get Sunday’s match out of the way and provide his players with an opportunity to rest. There could well be some changes to the starting XI against Switzerland. Joe Gomez, in particular, will be keen to get some game time after failing to get back into Liverpool’s team following his recovery from injury in April.
Rashford scored the only goal when these two sides last met in a friendly at the King Power Stadium in Leicester last September. England have generally had the upper hand in recent encounters, winning each of the last three and six of the seven matches between them since the turn of the millennium. Switzerland’s last win over England came in 1981.
That helps to illustrate the main problem for Swiss football in recent times. They have been a top-20 team by the FIFA rankings for the large majority of the last 10 years, and have been part of the top 10 for the last three. Even more so than England, their tournament progress is pretty much always ended by the first decent team they come across. Round-of-16 exits at Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup were followed by defeat to Portugal on Wednesday.
There are a number of talented players in the Swiss squad, with a good mix of youth and experience, and they have shown themselves capable of beating good teams in this very competition, specifically in their 5-2 thrashing of Belgium last November. In full attacking flow, they are capable of troubling most sides, but their defence is less reliable. They gave up a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Denmark in a European Championship qualifier in March.
With little pressure on the result, we could, therefore, be set for an entertaining encounter on Sunday. The natural tendency of the Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic is towards attack, and England have plenty of young, quick and incisive forwards capable of working their way to goal. An England victory in a match in which both teams score seems a good play.
Our Preview’s England vs Switzerland Betting Tips Verdict
- Back England to win on the ‘Match Result and Both Teams to Score’ market @ 29/10 with BetVictor.