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Footballers expect high-quality England

Despite England's World Cup flop and pressure on coach Fabio Capello, Switzerland expect a tough test in their first European Championship qualifier next week.

This content was published on September 1, 2010 - 10:28

The sides play in Basel on Tuesday, four days after Switzerland has a home friendly against Australia, and England starts its Euro 2012 programme at home to Bulgaria.

"England are going to be back, I'm sure of it. Their quality is there," said midfielder Gelson Fernandes, the only Swiss to score at the recent World Cup in South Africa.

"[England] just need to start well and then they're going to do it," said the 23-year-old, who knows his opponents well from two seasons playing for Manchester City. "But it's tough because we're in the same group."

Reports in England suggest that, after poor form in South Africa led to a second-round exit at the World Cup, Capello's job could be at risk if the qualifying campaign begins badly. Group G also includes Wales and Montenegro, with only the winner assured of going to the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

The veteran Italian began his England tenure with a 2-1 victory over the Swiss in a February 2008 friendly at Wembley.

Fernandes expects the Swiss, like England, to carry no World Cup baggage into qualifying.

"For us, it's a new start and we want to achieve something in this qualification," Fernandes said. "We've got a very good young team and that's our strength. We're excited."

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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