87,000 watch England win first game under Fabio Capello

A whopping 86,857 people packed into the 757 million (US$1.514 billion) Wembley Stadium in London to watch England take on Switzerland.

What other country in the world would have so many people watching a meaningless friendly game, and especially when the team has just failed to qualify for a majot tournament?

Not only that, but an amazing 32,000 packed into St Mary's Stadium in Southampton to watch another meaningless friendly - England Under 21's VS Republic of Ireland Under 21's. England Under 21's were 3-0 victors.

These huge crowds for friendly matches show just how much the English love football.

By Jonathan Stevenson

Jenas 40..........Derdiyok 58
Wright-Phillips 62

(At Wembley Stadium, London. Attendance: 86,857)

Wright-Phillips celebrates his 62nd minute winner for England

Fabio Capello got his England reign off to a winning start against Euro 2008 co-hosts Switzerland at Wembley.

Playing in a 4-5-1 formation, England started slowly in Wednesday's friendly.

But the impressive Joe Cole sparked them into life on 40 minutes when he skipped down the left and crossed for Jermaine Jenas to open the scoring.

Switzerland levelled when Eren Derdiyok fired home after the break, but Steven Gerrard set up Shaun Wright-Phillips to score from close range on 62 minutes.

Capello knows how much work there is to be done to convert England into a real force on the international stage, but he will be encouraged by a display that dramatically improved in quality as the game wore on.

Prior to kick off, Wembley fell silent to honour the victims of the Munich air disaster 50 years ago, though it appeared to be cut short before the full 60 seconds was up.

Once the action was under way, it was all eyes on Capello's first formation.

Rooney was on his own up front, supported from the wings by the excellent Joe Cole and David Bentley, with Jenas and Gerrard moving forward from midfield.

The players seemed uncomfortable at first, and Gareth Barry, who was supposed to be protecting the back four, gave the ball away carelessly for Tranquillo Barnetta to test David James from 20 yards.

England were enjoying more possession but Switzerland had the first golden chance to score, Mario Eggimann somehow glancing wide after Phillippe Senderos flicked on a Hakan Yakin free-kick.

Capello applauds Jenas' opener - his first goal in charge of England

Capello stepped off his bench to give instructions to his new charges, but the crowd began to grow restless as England continued to give the ball away cheaply.

No sooner had the boos started than Joe Cole burst into life, skipping past Stephan Lichtsteiner and crossing from the byeline for Jenas to tap in from four yards.

Buoyed by the goal, England started stroking the ball around confidently, only Rooney's lack of control letting him down before he chipped on to the roof of the net after excellent link-up between Joe Cole and Bentley.

Joe Cole set up Rooney to lash wide again before Diego Benaglio produced a magnificent full-length save to deny Jenas from 22 yards.

The crowd were starting to enjoy themselves, though they were soon reminded of just how much work Capello still has to do.

The experienced Hakan Yakin manouevred himself into some space in midfield and threaded a ball through to Eren Derdiyok, who wasted no time in rifling past James first time on his Switzerland debut.

But England were not level for long, Gerrard surging down the left and clipping in a cross for Wright-Phillips to convert from six yards out.

Gerrard was finding plenty of joy playing down the left as the game advanced and he went close with a fierce drive that only just flew over the bar.

England failed to find the net again despite bossing the later stages, but the victory was enough to satisfy the majority of the 86,857 that turned up.

England: James, Brown, Ferdinand, Upson, Ashley Cole (Bridge 73), Bentley, Jenas (Wright-Phillips 57), Gerrard, Barry (Hargreaves 73), Joe Cole (Crouch 57), Rooney (Young 87).

Subs Not Used: Carson, Richards, Lescott, Woodgate, Owen, Defoe, Kirkland.


Switzerland: Benaglio, Lichtsteiner (Behrami 46), Senderos (Grichting 55), Eggiman, Spycher, Inler, Gelson (Huggel 84), Barnetta, Yakin (Margairaz 63), Gygax (Vonlanthen 46), Nkufo (Derdiyok 46).

Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Coltorti, Ziegler.

Attendance: 86,857.

England 2-1 Switzerland: Fabio Capello prepares to take charge of England for the first time at Wembley Stadium

A minute's silence in memory of those who died in the Munich air disaster is observed at Wembley ahead of kick-off

Wayne Rooney looks to inject some pace into England's play during the turgid opening half hour at Wembley

England take the lead after fine work from Joe Cole on the left sets up Jermaine Jenas who slots home the opener

Swiss substitute Eren Derdiyok scores the equaliser as he thumps the ball past David James in the 58th minute

Shaun-Wright Phillips converts Gerrard's cross in the 62nd minute to restore England's lead at Wembley

Too bad there are no English managers good enough to manage England.
I think Englang game in future will be better, Fabio Capello can do best team it the world!
Did the hooligans get to stomp any heads?