England kicked off their World Cup year with a hard-fought friendly win over Switzerland at Wembley.
Breel Embolo had put the visitors ahead in the first-half but Luke Shaw levelled and a late Harry Kane penalty ensured the Three Lions won 2-1 in front of a sell-out crowd.
Here, FFT looks at some of the things we learned from the game.
Kane the main man (again)
The England captain endured a quiet night in front of goal but would still have the final say as he scored the winner from the penalty spot. It was his 49th England goal in just his 68th cap, drawing him level with Sir Bobby Robson and moving him to within four of Wayne Rooney’s all-time record. At this rate, he will be the outright record-holder before a ball is even kicked in Qatar and he remains the key component to England’s World Cup hopes.
England emerged for the second half having not made any changes but sporting a different kit. To show their support of the Alzheimer’s Society and raise awareness about dementia, the players removed their names from their shirts. With the mantra: ‘football should be unforgettable’, the friendly had already been branded as the “Alzheimer’s Society International” in recognition of the Football Association’s ties to the charity.
Three new Lions
A fine reward for Crystal Palace’s strong season saw both Marc Guehi and Tyrick Mitchell make their England debuts, the former playing the whole 90 minutes. Conor Gallagher, too, on loan at Palace from Chelsea, made his first senior start while Southampton full-back Kyle Walker-Peters also made his bow. Southgate has never been shy to give players their opportunity and has stressed he would not pick anyone in his current squads who did not have a chance of making it to the World Cup.
All White on the night?
Arsenal defender Ben White was back in the squad this time around and found himself in the starting line-up after John Stones was injured during the warm-up. White’s late inclusion seemed to catch him cold but he soon grew into the contest and is another genuine contender for a role at the heart of Southgate’s defence. With Harry Maguire out of form and Stones often warming the bench at Manchester City, White will be hoping for more chances to impress in the coming months.
The birth of the Nations League has seen international friendlies almost wiped from the football calendar. But, while this was an unremarkable 90 minutes, the challenge of facing a side such as Switzerland – ranked 14th in the world having qualified for the World Cup by topping a group that included Italy, can prove vital. England coasted into the World Cup, beating minnows San Marino and Andorra in the process, but testing themselves against bigger and better opponents can only be a good thing.
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Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's national team. Favourite FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.