111 min A poor pass near the halfway line from Walker puts England in a bit of trouble. Zakaria slips the weary Maguire and finds Seferovic, who looks even wearier as he tries to beat the last man Gomez. He wheezes into the area before being stealthily dispossessed.
107 min Barkley slides a beautiful pass inside the full-back for Alexander-Arnold, whose low cross towards Wilson at the near post is put behind for a corner. He took the wrong option, I think, as there were two players with an open goal at the far post. The resulting corner is headed over by Dier at the far post; he couldn’t get over the ball.
107 min “If ever there was a player that just HAS to start for England it’s this kid Alexander-Arnold!” says James Harris. “He’s been brilliant today and he was brilliant in the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. Kyle Walker is as accident prone as Stones and isn’t the best right-back in England by a country mile. Play Alexander-Arnold at right wing back with Wan Bissaka behind and we will be deadly.”
England make their last substitutions: Jadon Sancho and Ross Barkley replace Jesse Lingard and Fabian Delph.
Since you asked, England’s best players have been Alexander-Arnold, Maguire, Alexander-Arnold, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez and Delph.
Half time in extra time: England 0-0 Switzerland
I don’t know about you, but I’ll feel cheated if this doesn’t now go to penalties.
105 min After a mistake from Walker, the tireless Mbabu puts over a good deep cross that is claimed at the second attempt by Pickford.
103 min “Sterling has been abysmal today,” says James Harris. “OK so he’s had a good season with City but perhaps he’s just a flat track bully and not a world-class player after all.”
Perhaps he is, but I’m not sure a meaningless game against Switzerland is admissible evidence either way.
102 min … but he hammers it into the wall, and there’s a break in play because the free-kick flattened Elvedi.
102 min Alli is fouled 30 yards from goal. Alexander-Arnold is over it, and boy does he deserve a goal…
99 min: Great save from Sommer! Alexander-Arnold, on the left this time, puts over an excellent inswinging cross towards Alli. He towers over Schar and plants a fine downward header that is brilliantly palmed away by Sommer as he flies to his left.
97 min Lingard receives a chested pass from Alli and lobs a good little pass over the defence towards Sterling. He waits for the ball to drop before mishitting a left-footed volley that bobbles through to Sommer. Sterling could have had five today.
96 min Dier flicks a header wide of the near post from Alexander-Arnold’s left-wing corner. That was a good run from Dier and a decent effort.
95 min: Another chance for Sterling. The outstanding Alexander-Arnold puts over a ludicrous cross from a deep position on the right which bounces up in front of Sterling at the far post. He can only head it back across goal from six yards, and it deflects behind for a corner. That was a much tougher chance than some of the earlier ones because of the way the ball kicked up off the pitch.
94 min It feels like the match is drifting towards penalties. England will be irritated if they lose this, because they’ve had around 90 per cent of the clear chances. They aren’t always the most clinical side.
The World Cup match between England and Scotland kicks off in just over an hour. You can follow the build-up right here.
Full time: England 0-0 Switzerland
It will be extra-time in Guimaraes. You’re spoiling us, ambassador.
90+1 min There will be four added minutes. In the first of those, Alexander-Arnold – who has moved to left-back – crosses too close to Sommer with his left foot.
90 min Switzerland almost grab a late winner, but Xhaka’s low shot from 20 yards is blocked on the edge of the six-yard box.
86 min It was a foul by Wilson, and on balance, much as I loathe VAR in its current form, I’d say it was a clear and obvious one. He pulled Akanji over off the ball, which made it easy for the VAR referee to raise the matter. “Fuck VAR!” chant the England fans.
NO GOAL! Switzerland 0-0 England
Maguire started the move with a typical surge forward. He found Sterling, who skipped down the left and stood up a deep cross. Alli headed it against the bar but the rebound was shovelled into the net from a few yards by Wilson. But Wilson has been penalised for a foul on Akanji in the build up.
There’s a VAR check – and the referee is going to look at the screen.
GOAL? Switzerland 0-1 England (Wilson 84)
Callum Wilson gives England the lead!
83 min “Hi Rob,” says Anthony Abdool. “Am I the only who, on hearing mention of Swiss defender Mbabu, says ‘Mbabu indeed!’ out loud?”
Well, you might be the only one saying it out loud, but I suspect it has found its way into many an internal monologue this afternoon.
78 min A confident statement from Maguire, who receives possession from Pickford near the penalty spot and loses Freuler without touching the ball. Nicely done.
77 min “A fit Ruben Loftus-Cheek would effortlessly glide into that midfield, scattering his rivals like so many nine-pins,” says Felix Wood. “I guess what this conversation proves is that midfield shouldn’t really be an issue for England, and that my campaign to get Will Hughes in the squad is destined to fail. And yet today’s team has Dier and Delph in it. Strange game, football.”
Funny and old, too.
76 min Zuber turns smartly on the edge of the area before dragging his shot a few yards wide. Pickford had it covered.
75 min Callum Wilson replaces Harry Kane, who has had a decent afternoon.
74 min Sterling heads over from six yards after yet another lovely cross from Alexander-Arnold. England want a VAR penalty for a foul on Sterling. Not for me, Clive.
70 min: Another chance for Sterling! Kane plays a fine pass to Alli, who releases Sterling on the edge of the area with an excellent square pass. Sterling shapes to shoot, changes his mind and miscontrols the ball straight out of play. It took a bad bobble, and I’m sure he wishes he hit it first time.
70 min England make a change, with Kyle Walker replacing Danny Rose. Walker has gone to left-back.
69 min After a fine start, Kane has faded a little. The same is true of England’s whole attacking group, really.
67 min A rare mishit cross from Alexander-Anrold almost drifts into the top corner. Sommer had it covered, in fairness.
66 min “I strongly suspect,” says David Flynn, “that Alexander-Arnold could learn the position by playing once every two months.”
I suppose you’re right. If it takes 50 games to become an expert in a new position, he’ll have cracked it by Euro 2028.
62 min Freuler, whose movement from the left has been excellent, wins a corner for Switzerland. It’s cleared by Gomez, and that’s the end of that.
61 min “Could Maddison be the Maddison-type everyone is looking for?” says James Whittaker. “Strange that he is not even in the squad…”
Gareth Southgate wants him to play in the European Under-21 Championship; otherwise I’m sure he’d have been in.
56 min: Fine save by Pickford! Switzerland almost sting England on the break. Seferovic hammers a crossfield pass to the right for Shaqiri, who drags an inviting ball back to the edge of the area, right into the path of the onrushing Xhaka. He opens his body to steer a fast, first-time shot towards the far corner that is pushed behind by the flying Pickford.
55 min: England hit the post! Or, rather, Schar does. He was stretching towards his own goal as he tried to clear Rose’s superb low cross, and all he could do was slice it towards the far corner. Sommer flew to his left to make another brilliant save, fingertipping the ball onto the far post.
54 min “I’m intrigued by your notion of Alexander-Arnold making the transition to central midfield,” says Geoff Wignall. “Not the least benefit would be to make room for Wan-Bissaka, which needs to happen sooner rather than later. Good as TA-A is, I see Wan-Bissaka as an even better prospect at full back or wing back – he might be in the Philip Lahm class and there’s no higher praise than that.”
There is if you had posters of the Neville brothers on your wall at university. I haven’t seen much of Wan-Bissaka but there have been so many good reports.
53 min Kane’s downward header bounces just wide of the far post. It wouldn’t have counted as Kane was penalised for a foul, but it was another terrific cross from Alexander-Arnold. He is so good.
51 min Shaqiri lobs a clever pass over his own head to Mbabu, whose dangerous cross is headed away from inside the six-yard box by Gomez. There’s an impressive calmness to Gomez’s work, which can’t be said of all England’s defenders.
49 min “Agree that we need a Maddison type in midfield – but I think also Henderson has been hugely underrated,” says Francis Mead. “We were instantly better when Henderson came on against the Netherlands. He does have the ability to hold it, make decisions, and play killer through passes. So we already have Henderson but need to add to him.”
Yes, if the World Cup final was tomorrow, and everyone was fit, and England were playing in the bloody thing, I’d probably play Winks, Henderson and Alli in midfield. I’m not entirely disgusted by the idea of Winks, Henderson and Foden in midfield next summer, assuming Foden develops as hoped. The other thing is that England are quite flexible tactically these days, and they have options in midfield to play a diamond, a 4-1-2-3 and a 4-2-3-1.
47 min Frueler zips infield dangerously from the left, but his shot from 20 yards has the sting taken out of it by Maguire and dribbles through to Pickford.
47 min “There’s no law that says Southgate can’t play Alexander-Arnold in a De Bruyne position for England,” sniffs David Flynn. “Does Southgate just follow what the club managers do?”
Oh no, I was talking about his natural development as a player. It’s not a position he could learn by playing there once every two months.
Half time: England 0-0 Switzerland
Peep peep! England should be ahead, but they’re not. Harry Kane hit the bar, while Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli missed excellent chances.
See you in 10 minutes for the second half.
45 min “To me, Alli is drifting into the arena where Great Young Players go on to be OK Older Players,” says Tony Hughes. “We hear a lot about Trippier’s regression and maybe the need to move abroad to get his career back on track but Alli has gone backwards – like Trippier – since the World Cup.”
Yes, agreed. There are still games and moments when he looks quite brilliant, but they aren’t as frequent as they were a couple of years ago. He’s only 23, though, so he has plenty of time.
44 min The match is drifting towards half-time. England, without being overwhelmingly dominant, have certainly been the better team.