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READ | England U17s round off group games in Rotherham tonight

10 May 2018

Switzerland are looking to replicate their U17 European Championship triumph from 2002 after qualifying for the tournament for the first time since 2014.

They arrive at the New York Stadium, home of Rotherham United, on Thursday evening for the final game in Group A with the aim of beating the hosts – something their senior counterparts have not achieved since 1981.

Haven’t we met before?

The last meeting between the two sides came at senior level in 2015, during qualifying for the 2016 European Championship, at Wembley Stadium.

England won the match 2-0 thanks to second-half strikes from Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney, whose penalty saw him break Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time goalscoring record.

The Three Lions were also successful by the same scoreline in the reverse fixture in Basel in 2014, when a brace from Danny Welbeck ensured victory at St Jakob Park.

Switzerland last claimed bragging rights over England back in 1981, with seven losses and three draws since, goals from Alfred Scheiwiler and Claudio Sulser gave them a 2-1 win in Basel.

That meeting came 48 years after the two nations first met, in 1933, when England triumphed 4-0 in a friendly in Bern, with Arsenal legend Cliff Bastin bagging two of the goals.

Swiss impact

A significant number of Switzerland players have played their domestic football in England over the years, with many plying their trade in the Premier League.

Xherdan Shaqiri is one of the country’s most recognisable players and has scored several spectacular goals since his arrival at Stoke for a then club-record fee of £12 million in 2015.

He was joined by Granit Xhaka, who was part of the Swiss squad that won the U17 World Cup in 2009, after he joined Arsenal from Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2016.

Xhaka has gone on to become a regular for his country at international level, much like former Arsenal star Philippe Senderos, who made 116 appearances for the north London club.

In fact, Arsenal have had a long history of Swiss players, with Johan Djourou another regular in the Premier League after impressing at international level through the age groups.

The road to the Finals

Switzerland emerged from the qualifying round at the end of 2017 with two wins and a defeat – a 2-0 loss to Belgium being the only blot on their record.

That was preceded by a dominant 5-0 victory against Northern Ireland, which included a hat-trick from Uros Vasic, and a 1-0 triumph over Malta as they qualified for the elite round in March.

They overcame Finland 2-1 in their first game with strikes from Julian Vonmoos and Ilan Sauter, before being held to a 1-1 draw by Portugal.

Switzerland then confirmed their place in the Finals with a 4-2 victory against Slovakia to top Group 4, with Tician Tushi, Vonmoos, Christian Witzig and Ruwen Werthmüller finding the net.

In their opening two games at the Finals, they lost their first against Italy by 2-0 in Burton last Friday before seeing off Israel by 3-0 at St. George’s Park on Monday.

This means they go into Thursday’s match knowing that a victory would be enough to send them into the quarter finals or a point would leave them waiting on the result from Italy’s clash with Israel and the other groups to determine their fate.

A limited number of tickets are still available for Thursday's game. Purchase on the night available at the New York Stadium only.

Should England win, they will play in the quarter final at Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium on Sunday 13 May, with the game kicking-off at 6pm.

See the stars of tomorrow in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship as England take on Switzerland at Rotherham United on 10 May, KO 7pm. Visit the competition home page for tickets and further information.


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