Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

England Sizzles, Then Fizzles to Opening Draw

WEMBLEY, England -- After 2 1/2 years without a competitive game, England's soccer players must have forgotten a few things. Like there are two halves and the games last 90 minutes.


Terry Venables' team responded to the public's call for a bright and imaginative performance and Alan Shearer even ended his goal drought.


But the improvement lasted only 45 minutes Saturday and England allowed Switzerland to hit back for a 1-1 tie in the opening game of the European Championship.


Shearer illustrated England's first half supremacy by firing his first goal in a national team shirt since November 1994 to give the Euro 96 host a 22nd minute lead.


Although England completely dominated the first half, the Swiss hit back and Kubilay Turkyilmaz leveled in the 82nd minute after Stuart Pearce had been called for handball.


It could have been even worse for the home team but goalkeeper David Seaman made a stunning, one-handed save to keep out a close-range shot from Marco Grassi in the final minute.


Although England coach Terry Venables didn't like the result, he was also unhappy with the decision of Spanish referee Manuel Diaz Vega to award the spot kick.


"I didn't think it was a penalty, but we didn't play well in the second half. It was disappointing, it's not the result we were looking for," said Venables, whose team meets Scotland next Saturday and then the Netherlands June 18.


Swiss coach Artur George thought England's goal shouldn't have counted either.


"The players told me that he was offside, so did some of the fans," said Jorge, a Portuguese who has been under fire from the Swiss fans because of previous poor performances.


"But this is football. I think we are happy because we played well in the second half."


In the 21st minute, Marco Pascolo did well to punch out a low cross from Steve McManaman and then recovered to get back and fist Gary Neville's follow up shot over the bar.


A minute later the acrobatic Swiss goalkeeper was beaten.


Paul Ince slipped the ball between two Swiss defenders and Shearer, who looked as if he could have been offside when the ball was played, was clear. Shearer wasted no time in ending his personal, 1,043-minute goal drought and powered the shot between Pascolo and the near post.


Neville collected the first yellow card of the championship for a foul on Sforza in the 25th minute and, two minutes later, Johann Vogel followed him into the referee's book for a foul on Gascoigne.


Ivan Quentin collected a yellow card for a foul on Shearer and, from the right wing free kick, Pearce found Sheringham unmarked but Pascolo managed to block his downward header with his foot.


The opening 15 minutes of the second half failed to match the first as England went into a shell and the Swiss started to regroup.


After a flurry of substitutions from both sides early in the second half, one replacement, Steve Stone, almost turned the ball home from another, Micky Barmby, in the 70th minute.


But the Swiss, with star striker Stephane Chapuisat joining Grassi and Turkyilmaz in attack, had become more menacing and, with the English defense suddenly looking shaky, an equalizer looked likely.


England captain Tony Adams was shown the yellow card for bringing down Vogel inches outside the England area in the 78th minute. Although Sforza's free kick was charged down by the wall, Vogel's follow up drive from 25 meters flashed just past the post.


Four minutes later it was 1-1.


Adams' poor headed clearance put Pearce under pressure and, with Grassi challenging, the ball rose up and struck the England defender on the hand.


Referee Diaz Vega had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Turkyilmaz rolled the ball home with Seaman diving the other way.