Englands Euro 2004 campaign got back on track after the disappointment
of the France game, with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Switzerland.
Wayne Rooney was England's hero, putting on a striking display of some
class and scoring two goals. The Swiss who went down to ten men after
the second half sending off of Bernt Haas, were never really a threat
after the initial opening exchanges.

An 18-year old Everton
forward, Rooney was clearly the difference between the sides. His first
goal owed much to the excellent vision and passing of David Beckham and
Michael Owen, but it was the finish of a veteran campaigner rather than
a teenage upstart that stood out. Rooney had arrived on the Euro 2004
stage and this was now his show. In the second half, Rooney collected a
pass from substitute Darius Vassell on the left, cut in on his favoured
right foot and struck a sweet low shot that went in off Jorg Stiel, the
hapless Swiss goalkeeper. To add to his all-action performance, the
Everton man also picked up a first half booking for a late challenge on
Stiel, his petulance again causing flutters amongst the England

At 1-0 England had the upper hand but was still not
good value for their lead. The age-old feeling exists amongst England
followers that when they have a lead, they do not sit comfortably with
it and are prone to defensive lapses and poor quality posession.
England did not have it all their own way either, and in the opening
exchanges they were struggling to get a grip on the mercurial Hakan
Yakin. The Swiss playmaker teased England early on with a couple of
free-kicks from out wide. Thankfully, Sol Campbell continued his fine
form by making the telling interventions.

By the time Haas
was sent off for a second bookable offence though, England was firmly
in control and was passing the ball around with increasing confidence.
Posession was the key here and Switzerland was unable to make theirs
count. A combination of the afternoon heat in Coimbra and playing with
a man down began to affect the Swiss, and gaps started to appear in
their defence. Rooney and Owen used this to their advantage
intelligently for the second, well-worked goal before Steven Gerrard
scored the third and final goal in the last ten minutes, again the
result of intelligent play by Beckham. His pass played Gary Neville
into the penalty box, whose rare foray into attacking climes did not
overawe him as he played a simple ball across to Gerrard. The Liverpool
midfielder, who is attracting the attention of Chelsea, saw his right
footed effort go in at the near post.

From here England will
go on to face Croatia in the final Group B game, while the Swiss will
have an uphill task to salvage some pride against group leader France.
England can rightly go into their final match with confidence but will
be wise to be wary of an improving and dangerous Croatian side, who
held France to a 2-2 draw. Question marks continue to hang over
goalkeeper David James, who at times didnt look to be inspiring the
confidence of his colleagues. Michael Owen also seems to be going
through a sticky patch. Except for his contribution in the first goal,
Owen has become continually frustrated at the lack of space afforded to
him. Sven-Goran Eriksson would be wise to provide words of comfort to
the Liverpool forward as he is still undoubtedly a potential match
winner. As for Rooney, if he can continue to channel his raw aggression
in a positive manner, England will go far. A question mark hangs over
his temperament still, but his contribution to the England cause
already this tournament has been immeasurable.