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Rooney nets twice in England's 3-0 win
Trevor Huggins |
June 17, 2004 23:26 IST
Last Updated: June 18, 2004 02:24 IST
Two-goal Wayne Rooney became the youngest scorer in European Championship finals history as England put their Euro 2004 football tournament campaign back on course with a 3-0 win over 10-man Switzerland on Thursday.
The striker, 18 years and seven months old, headed home after 23 minutes and scored a second goal in the 75th minute of a nervous display by his team rounded off by a late Steve Gerrard strike.
Still bearing the scars of a 2-1 stoppage time defeat by France in their Group B opener on Sunday, England only settled in the closing stages after Swiss defender Bernt Haas was sent off.
Rooney's third international record after becoming England's youngest player and youngest scorer last year as a 17-year-old threw them a lifeline before their final group game against Croatia.
Faced with a match they could not afford to lose, England were a bag of nerves in the early stages, over-hitting passes forward for Michael Owen and conceding a flurry of free kicks and corners to a composed Swiss side.
Unable to build any rhythm, England's frustration showed after 19 minutes when Rooney followed through on grounded Swiss keeper Joerg Stiel.
The 18-year-old conceded a free kick two minutes later for a barge, showing all the signs of a player about to get a red card.
Instead, he made history when David Beckham picked out an unmarked Owen at the far post and the striker's chip across the goal gave Rooney an easy close-range header.
A disappointing Owen could have added a second before the break had he been able to connect properly with Ashley Cole's raking low ball across the face of the goal.
Switzerland kept plugging away at an England defence in which Sol Campbell was again imperious, this time partnered by John Terry on his return from a hamstring injury.
Though England got forward more easily after Haas's dismissal for a second booking on the hour, Owen failed to make the most of the opportunities and it needed Rooney's second and Gerrard's strike to finish the job.
Red card: Bernt Haas (Switzerland).
England (4-4-2): 1-David James; 2-Gary Neville, 5-John Terry, 6-Sol Campbell, 3-Ashley Cole; 7-David Beckham (captain), 11-Frank Lampard, 4-Steven Gerrard, 8-Paul Scholes (18-Owen Hargreaves 70); 9-Wayne Rooney (20-Kieron Dyer 83), 10-Michael Owen (23-Darius Vassell 72)
Switzerland (4-3-1-2): 1-Joerg Stiel; 2-Bernt Haas, 20-Patrick Mueller, 5-Murat Yakin, 17-Christoph Spycher; 8-Raphael Wicky, 16-Fabio Celestini (7-Ricardo Cabanas 54), 18-Benjamin Huggel; 10-Hakan Yakin (22-Johann Vonlanthen 84); 11-Stephane Chapuisat (15-Daniel Gygax 46), 9-Alexander Frei.
Referee: Valentin Ivanov (Russia)
Linesmen: Yury Dupanau (Belarus), Vladimir Eniutin (Russia).