England have a long way to go despite fine campaign

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England fans should control their excitement after they watched Roy Hodgson and his men pick up their eighth straight win of the qualifying campaign against Switzerland last night. 

Switzerland are no slouches, and this time a year ago they were ranked above England in the world. And they proved stubborn opponents in front of 60,000-odd people at Wembley.

On the night, there was always going to be something for England fans to cheer about, with captain and talisman Wayne Rooney needing one goal to break the nation's all-time goalscoring record that he had equalled on Saturday night.


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In truth, it was a game in which there were promising signs for a young England side. But it was pedestrian for lengthy periods, and England struggled to create any clear cut chances for about an hour.

The deadlock was broken by substitute Harry Kane, who was again on hand to open the scoring after having hardly touched the ball. The impressive Luke Shaw, who provided the assist from wide on the left, found Kane in space and the Spurs ace was able to tuck the ball home past the sprawling goalkeeper.

The perfect time 

Many began to wonder if it had been too perfect an occasion for Rooney to claim his new record. Some fancy footwork from Raheem Sterling, after a frustrating game, enticed the Swiss to have a nibble at his legs, which led the referee to point to the spot. 

And, who would have dared attempt to take the ball off of Rooney? He confidently stepped up and put the ball in the top left corner, leaving the keeper stranded. There was sheer emotion and ecstasy as he was mobbed by his team-mates in which was a special moment for the ex-Everton man. 

Long way to go 

But, don't be hasty and expect Euro 2016 glory. Let's not forget, England had a group that contained one real threat in Switzerland, and even they are a team England should beat. San Marino, Lithuania, Estonia and Slovenia are hardly equivalent to the calibre of teams England will be facing next year in France.

It has undoubtedly been a promising campaign, but there's plenty of room for improvement for England. If the right players find the same form for England as they do for their clubs, much like Jonjo Shelvey demonstrated both last night and on Saturday, then England could be in with a great chance.

The test will be in the numerous high-profile friendlies organised before the tournament, which will see England test their wits against Europe's 'elite', and then we can make a true judgment of how the Three Lions will do at Euro 2016.

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