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Euro 2016: Welbeck shines for England

Danny Welbeck scored twice to help England to a 2-0 win over Switzerland in the qualifying rounds.

Danny Welbeck glides the ball into the back of the net during the Euro 2016 qualifiers on 8 September 2014. Picture: Official England Football Facebook Page

BASEL - Danny Welbeck scored twice, the first with his shin, as England began their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a lively 2-0 win away to Switzerland, their toughest rivals in the group, on Monday.

Raheem Sterling was involved in both goals as England gave a vastly-improved performance.

Welbeck broke the deadlock when he met Sterling's low cross in his stride and the ball flew into the net off his shin after Gokhan Inler lost possession in midfield in the 58th minute.

Welbeck then made England's opening Group E game safe in stoppage time when he produced the finishing touch to a counter-attack, started by Sterling and continued by Rickie Lambert, as the Swiss were pressing for an equaliser.

"Switzerland doesn't lose at home and we had to work hard for it because we missed our chances earlier," England coach Roy Hodgson told reporters.

"When we can counter-attack against teams, the pace, energy and the youth of the team is shown to good effect.

"We adopted a reasonably bold approach because I know if it's going to work in the future, if this group of players is going to become any good, we have to do it from the start. Luckily, we got the result which will help us."

Former Lazio coach Petkovic said his Switzerland team paid for two mistakes. "It was a shame to lose the first game," he told reporters. "We were a bit nervous, we made two mistakes as a result of insecurity."

Holders Spain kicked off their title defence in style after a cheeky Sergio Ramos penalty set up a 5-1 victory over Macedonia in their opening Group C qualifier on Monday.

Paco Alcácer, Sergio Busquets, David Silva and Pedro also got in on the action.

In the other game, Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov was denied a dramatic last-minute equaliser as they suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat by Slovakia.

FULL RESULTS - MONDAY

Luxembourg 1-1 Belarus

Spain 5-1 Macedonia

Ukraine 0-1 Slovakia

Estonia 1-0 Slovenia

San Marino 0-2 Lithuania

Switzerland 0-2 England

Russia 4-0 Liechtenstein

Austria 1-1 Sweden

Montenegro 2-0 Moldova

TUESDAY FIXTURES:

Kazakhstan V Latvia

Czech Rep. V Netherlands

Iceland V Turkey

Andorra V Wales

Bos-Herce V Cyprus

Azerbaijan V Bulgaria

Croatia V Malta

Norway V Italy