By Brian Homewood
Danny Welbeck’s shin made the difference as England won 2-0 away to Switzerland in an evenly-balanced Euro 2016 qualifier, giving new Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic a losing start on Monday.
Welbeck met Raheem Stirling’s low cross in his stride and the ball flew into the net off his shin after Wayne Rooney broke up a Swiss move in midfield in the 58th minute.
Welbeck then made England’s opening Group E game safe when he produced the finishing touch to a counter-attack as the Swiss pressed for an equaliser.
It was Switzerland’s first home defeat in a competitive international since they lost to the same opponents four years ago in the Euro 2012 qualifiers.
England’s first goal came shortly after goalkeeper Joe Hart made a superb save to keep out Haris Seferovic’s half-volley following one of the few fluid Swiss moves of the game.
Switzerland started with eight of the team who lost 1-0 to Argentina in the World Cup round of 16, their last match under Petkovic’s predecessor Ottmar Hitzfeld.
Seferovic had their best first half effort when his shot was saved by Hart’s outstretched leg after England’s Phil Jones gave the ball away to Xherdan Shaqiri on the edge of the area.
Defender Jones then saw a header brilliantly turned away by Yann Sommer just before half-time.
Switzerland, playing in front of a subdued crowd at St Jakob-Park, were denied an equaliser when Josip Drmic broke through the England defence and rounded Hart only to see his effort cleared off the line by Gary Cahill.
Results from Euro 2016 qualifying matches on Monday, September 8:
Switzerland 0-2 England
San Marino 0-2 Lithuania
Estonia 1-0 Slovenia
Spain 5-1 Macedonia
Luxembourg 1-1 Belarus
Ukraine 0-1 Slovakia
Russia 4-0 Liechtenstein
Austria 1-1 Sweden
Montenegro 2-0 Moldova