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England 3 Switzerland 0

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17 June 2004 | ©football365.com

England brushed aside 10-man Switzerland with a comfortable 3-0 win at the Cidade de Coimbra on Thursday to give themselves hope of reaching the last eight.

Wayne Rooney headed England in front on 23 minutes from a lovely Michael Owen chipped pass and the Everton striker doubled their lead with a fierce effort that beat Jorg Stiel at his near post on 75 minutes.

Steven Gerrard wrapped up the victory with their third nine minutes from time after finishing off a neat build-upto keep England's Euro 2004 dreams alive.

Sven-Goran Eriksson made one change to the side that suffered a dramatic 2-1 stoppage-time defeat to France on Sunday, with fit-again John Terry replacing Ledley King in the centre of defence.

Koebi Khun was forced into making one change from the side which drew 0-0 with Croatia in their opening group game, with Fabio Celestini coming in for the suspended Johann Vogel, who was sent off against Otto Baric's men.

Switzerland made a confident start and won a free-kick in the third minute when Terry went in late on Stephane Chapuisat 35 yards from goal on the right-wing.

Hakan Yakin swung in a dangerous ball which Sol Campbell needed to head behind for a corner as Alexander Frei and Benjamin Huggel were closing in.

Yakin was causing England's defence a number of problems with his cultured left foot and he just failed to pick out the strikers in the box with a ninth-minute free-kick and a corner on 13 minutes.

Ashley Cole fouled Bernt Haas on the right on 17 minutes and Yakin's delivery was again dangerous, but Gerrard made a timely interception to head the ball behind for a corner.

But England broke the deadlock with their first meaningful attack on 24 minutes.

Steven Gerrard made a strong run down the right before slipping a short pass to Beckham, who picked out the unmarked Owen with a pinpoint cross just inside the area on the left.

The Liverpool striker took the pass on his chest and brought it down before floating a delicate ball over to Rooney in the centre and the Everton prodigy guided his header beyond Jorg Stiel from six yards out to give the Three Lions the lead.

Paul Scholes, looking for his first international goal in three years, tried his luck from distance shortly afterwards, but he blazed his effort well wide of the target.

The Swiss had a glorious chance to level the scores on 28 minutes when Christoph Spycher picked out Frei inside the box with a good cross from the left, but the striker failed to hit the target from six yards out in an unmarked position.

A free-kick from Gerrard found Cole with space on the left on 34 minutes, but his low cross was just too strong for Rooney and Owen inside the six-yard box and the ball flashed across the face of goal.

Switzerland had three good chances in the closing stages of the first half, with Frei shooting straight at David James from 25 yards, Murat Yakin blazing a 30-yard free-kick over the bar and brother Hakan Yakin just missing with a curling free-kick from just outside the area.

Daniel Gygax replaced Chapuisat for the second half and almost scored with his first touch when he got in between Terry and James, but the substitute sent his header into the side-netting.

Raphael Wicky was given space for a shot on 51 minutes as England's defence sat off him, but the midfielder's effort from 30 yards sailed just wide of James' left post and Gygax was way off-target with a shot on 58 minutes.

Haas was surprisingly sent off for a second bookable offence on the hour-mark for a late challenge on Cole and the Swiss were always going to struggle to come back with a player less.

Then on 75 minutes England extended their lead with a rasping effort from Rooney.

Darius Vassell did well to hold up a hopeful long ball in the centre before playing the ball out to the teenager on the left and he carried the ball into the box, cut inside and drilled a low shot to Stiel's left.

The ball struck the post and rebounded off the keeper's head rather fortuitously and into the back of the net for Rooney's second of the match.

Good build-up play resulted in England's third goal on 81 minutes with Beckham finding Gary Neville on the overlap on the right and his low cross picked out an unmarked Gerrard at the far post and the Liverpool man had no difficulty in steering the ball past Stiels.

Owen Hargreaves and Vassell both had chances to add to the scoreline in the final minutes, but the Bayern Munich midfielder shot straight at Stiels, while the Aston Villa striker stabbed a weak effort at the keeper before the final whistle sounded.



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