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08 Sep 2010

Wayne Rooney rewarded Fabio Capello's decision to play him despite allegations surrounding his private life as he set England on the way to an impressive victory against Switzerland in Basle.

Rooney put his personal troubles to one side at St Jakob Park to score an early opener and his first international goal for a year - paving the way for England to make it a maximum six points from their first two Euro 2012 qualifiers.

England followed up the 4-0 win against Bulgaria at Wembley on Friday with an even more convincing performance that lays the foundations for their bid to reach the showpiece in Poland and Ukraine.

Adam Johnson, who excelled as a substitute for Theo Walcott after he was stretchered off with an ankle injury following Rooney's goal, added an expertly taken second after 69 minutes to confirm his growing maturity on the international stage.

And, even though Xherdan Shaqiri's spectacular goal gave Switzerland hope two minutes later, substitute Darren Bent wrapped up the triumph with his first goal for England two minutes from time.

Switzerland were angered when Stephan Lichtsteiner was sent off for a second yellow card with England leading 1-0, but they can have no complaints after being comprehensively outplayed for long periods.

For Rooney, it was respite from his troubles and he won the acclaim from both sets of fans in Basle when he was substituted late on.

And, while Capello and his players will take some time to banish the bitter memories of the World Cup fiasco in South Africa, they have made the best possible start to their period of recovery.

Capello picked Manchester City's Joleon Lescott in central defence with Michael Dawson ruled out, a surprise selection but one based on logic and the evidence of the powerful partnership he forged with Phil Jagielka when the pair played together at Everton.

All eyes were inevitably on Rooney, but Capello had no hesitation in picking him and was rewarded after only 10 minutes when he put England ahead.

Glen Johnson was the creator with a powerful surge into the penalty area, supplying an inviting cross that allowed Rooney to apply the simplest of finishes, although there was no celebration from the striker.

Sadly for England, their delight was marred by the sight of Walcott lying injured. He had made a confident start, but his game ended with him being stretchered down the tunnel with his right ankle heavily strapped.

Rooney's strike was the signal for England to take control of the first half - and the only complaint Capello could have had was his side's failure to give the scoreline the appearance their superiority deserved.

Captain Steven Gerrard was once more revelling in central midfield, and he almost set up Jermain Defoe with a precise lofted pass that the hat-trick hero of Friday's 4-0 win against Bulgaria fired well off target.

Defoe was again uncharacteristically wasteful after more good work by Glen Johnson and was frustrated again when Ashley Cole's cross fell just behind him in front of an open goal.

Adam Johnson once again settled quickly to his task and gave Switzerland an anxious moment when he cut inside and struck a rising 25-yard drive just over the top.

England almost got the second goal their domination merited on the stroke of half-time when Rooney rounded Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio, only for Stephane Grichting to deny Defoe with a crucial clearance at the far post.

Liverpool's Glen Johnson demonstrated his defensive frailties against Bulgaria, but there is no question his natural attacking instincts add a different dimension to England, and he almost added a second with a low effort just after the break that Benaglio did well to turn to safety.

Switzerland were reduced to 10 men after 64 minutes when Lichtsteiner was sent off after a receiving a second yellow card for a foul on James Milner.

And Adam Johnson ensured England made the most of their numerical advantage as he scored a superbly taken second after 69 minutes, taking Gerrard's precise pass around Benaglio before turning the ball in from an angle.

If England thought they could relax and close out victory they were wrong as Shaqiri gave Switzerland hope with a thunderous long-range drive that flew into the top corner past the helpless Joe Hart.

Bent replaced the injured Defoe, who limped off after Johnson's goal, and he finally got on the scoresheet for England with a confident finish two minutes from time to put another layer of gloss on a fine display from Capello's side.


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