7 September 2014 19:20
Roy Hodgson has admitted that England would rather not begin their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against Switzerland.
An unconvincing 1-0 home friendly victory over Norway earlier this week has done little to raise spirits following England’s winless World Cup campaign.
And the pressure has cranked up a notch ahead of a tricky opening to their latest efforts to reach a major tournament.
Indeed, Switzerland – who bettered England’s showing in Brazil by reaching second round – now sit ninth in the FIFA rankings having established themselves as one of the leading teams in Europe.
Hodgson is all too aware of their threat, saying: “In an ideal world we would have chosen to play Switzerland later on… it is a big test.”
Those words did little to indicate a feeling of confidence in the England camp, with Hodgson also acknowledging that his men need a lift.
He added: “I want to see how the players perform. This will be a big test for them, it is. I want to see how they come up to speed on that test.
“I want the result and if you ask me what would you prefer – to play badly and win or to play well and lose, I’d play badly and win, I’m not different to anyone else in that respect.
“We do have to lift our heads up a little bit and performances and how we play and what happens is vital importance to us.”