Hodgson’s Plastic Generation
PLUS: Switzerland v England History & Odds

by Rob Shepherd.

Frank Lampard’s retirement from international football saw much debate about why England’s so called ‘golden generation’ ended up with the wooden spoon. Time and again.

Bad management by the ridiculous Sven Goran Eriksson in particular as well as out-of-his-depth Steve McClaren and antique collector Fabio Capello are obvious reasons.

Predecessor to that trio Kevin Keegan was pilloried, but I have a suspicion he would have got more out of the talented wave of players that emerged at the turn of the millennium.

Hoddle at the World Cup in 1998 (Shaun Botterill /Allsport).
Hoddle at the World Cup in 1998 (Shaun Botterill /Allsport).

I am convinced Glenn Hoddle would have, had he not been rushed out of office.

A few months ago I was in Hoddle’s company and we touched on what might have been post France 98.

He felt the future was bright given the players he had under his belt and those on the horizon and in general would have adopted a 3-5-2 system.

A team like this could then have emerged by 2002: David James, Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Ashley Cole, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen.

With a young and sharp Wayne Rooney to emerge and the likes of Gary Neville, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe around to bolster the above team then by 2004 or 2006 the so-called ‘golden generation’ could have lifted big silverware.

And the future now under an increasingly hapless Roy Hodgson? As it stands it would seem more like a Plastic Generation.


Switzerland v England – Selected Bets

Switzerland:  17/10  Draw:  19/10  England: 19/10

Double Result: Switzerland/Draw  14/1

Correct Score: Switzerland 1-0 England 11/2, Switzerland 1-2 England 11/1

First Goalscorer: Sturridge 5/1, Rooney 11/2, Drmic 13/2, Sterling 8/1

BOBBY’S BET OF THE DAY: Raheem Sterling To Score & England To Win: 5/1

Odds courtesy of William Hill.

If You Know Your History…

The nations first met back in 1933 when England ran riot 4-0 in a friendly in Berne, with Arsenal legend Cliff Bastin bagging two of the goals.

The Swiss struck back with friendly victories in Zurich in 1938 (2-1) and 1947 (1-0) but England hit back with a 6-0 hammering in 1948 at Highbury.

That was the first of a sequence of six consecutive victories for the Three Lions, including a 2-0 win over the hosts in the group stages of the 1954 World Cup.

Unquestionably the most remarkable of these wins was at St. Jakob Park, Basle in 1963, when Bobby Charlton netted a hat-trick in a huge 8-1 England win.

The sides later met in the qualification stages for the 1972 European Championships with England getting the points in Basle with a 3-2 win before the sides drew 1-1 at Wembley, as England qualified for the championships in Belgium ahead of Switzerland.

Goals from Kevin Keegan and Mick Channon gave England a narrow 2-1 win in 1975 in another friendly in Basle.

England’s 34 year unbeaten run against the Swiss came to an abrupt end in 1981 as Switzerland prevailed 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier in Basle, although in the end it was not enough for them to join England in qualifying for the finals in Spain.

A 1995 friendly was notable as Terry Venables’ England side beat Roy Hodgson’s Swiss side 3-1 at Wembley.

Rooney is congratulated by Beckham and Lampard at Euro 2004
Rooney is congratulated by Beckham and Lampard at Euro 2004

Fast forward a year and the teams locked horns in a competitive fixture as Wembley hosted the opening match of Euro ’96. This time the Swiss claimed a well-earnt draw with Turkyilmaz converting a late penalty after Alan Shearer had opened the scoring for the home side.

Tottenham’s Ramon Vega scored for the hosts before Paul Merson equalised for England in a 1-1 friendly draw in Berne in 1998.

In the group stages at Euro 2004 England won convincingly 3-0 in Coimbra with a brace from Wayne Rooney and one from Steven Gerrard.

The very first game of Fabio Capello’s reign as England manager was against the Swiss in February 2008, and the Italian got off to a winning start with a 2-1 triumph with goals from Jermaine Jenas and Shaun Wright-Phillips at Wembley.

The 1981 match in Basle remains Switzerland’s last win over England.

England also played in Basle twice in the 1954 World Cup, drawing a group game 4-4 with Belgium and losing in the quarter-finals 4-2 to Uruguay.


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