BASEL, Switzerland -- Danny Welbeck scored twice to give England respite from criticism and a deserved 2-0 win at Switzerland in their European Championship qualifying opener on Monday. Welbeck finished off Raheem Sterlings pass on a fast counter-attack in the 58th minute and slotted in a right-footed shot deep into stoppage time. Englands lead was preserved in the 70th by defender Gary Cahill sliding to block Josip Drmics shot after the Swiss substitute dribbled around goalkeeper Joe Hart. Widely criticized for failure to win a game at the World Cup, England responded by winning its most difficult fixture in Euro 2016 qualifying against the No. 9 team in FIFAs rankings. England is No. 20. "Ive never really lost faith," England coach Roy Hodgson said. "I thought that the way we approached the game from the first minute was exactly what we wanted and we got our reward for once." Switzerland was praised for reaching the last 16 in Brazil, but new coach Vladimir Petkovic begins his tenure with the teams first competitive home loss in four years. Then, England won 3-1 at the same St. Jakob-Park early in Euro 2012 qualifying. "They lacked a bit of calm in their game," Petkovic said of his players. "The first goal is a gift but we reacted well after that". Also in Group E on Monday, Lithuania won 2-0 at San Marino, and Estonia beat Slovenia 1-0. The top two in each group qualify for Euro 2016 in France. The third-place team can qualify directly or advance to a playoff. Hodgson was rewarded for selecting youth in a starting lineup with an average age under 25. The 19-year-old Sterling took Rooneys weighted pass in his speedy stride, advanced into the left side of the Swiss penalty area and slid the ball across goal for 23-year-old Welbeck to score. Though it was Welbecks shin connecting with the ball, Arsenals new 16 million-pound ($25.8-million) signing from Manchester United was perfectly positioned to strike. Rooneys astute play launched the move when the captain seized on his Swiss counterpart Gokhan Inlers misplaced pass deep in Englands half. England merited its lead, though the flip side of the youthful verve which created several chances was a lack of composure in dangerous situations. "I think we created a number of chances which maybe we could have done better with the final pass," Welbeck said. A three-on-one break was wasted in the 29th when Welbeck passed the ball beyond Sterlings reach in front of goal. Earlier, Sterling delivered a slow pass into the path of Rooney whose weak shot was easily gathered by goalkeeper Yann Sommer. Sommer excelled diving low to his left in the 43rd to push away a powerful header from Phil Jones at a corner. England goalkeeper Joe Hart stood out saving twice from centre forward Haris Seferovic. Hart stretched his right leg to block Seferovics shot in the 33rd minute after the forward collected a clever Admir Mehmedi pass. Two minutes before England took the lead, Hart stood tall to push away a rising Seferovic shot with his left hand. Elsewhere, Lithuania extended San Marinos 24-year run of never winning a competitive match with two first-half goals. Deivydas Matulevicius scored in the fifth and Arvydas Novikovas in the 36th. Estonia got an 86th-minute winner from Ats Purje to beat a visiting Slovenia team it trails by 54 places in the FIFA rankings. Slovenia was reduced to 10 men in the 78th when Dalibor Stevanovic was shown a second yellow card. Estonia took advantage when Purje pounced on a fourth shot in a goalmouth scramble, after goalkeeper Samir Handanovic twice blocked shots. Estonia hosts England in Tallinn on Oct. 12, three days after Hodgsons team plays San Marino at Wembley Stadium. "They are areas we can work (on) and weve got a couple of years to do so," said Hodgson, who can expect less stress at work after this victory. Jordan Whitehead Buccaneers Jersey
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. And while taking highly-touted Simon Fraser offensive lineman Matthias Goossen second overall on Tuesday night will definitely help in an area of need for the club, it was a swap of draft picks that may prove to be his most shrewd move. "When Jesse Briggs started to fall a little bit, you could just see Kyle perk up in his chair. INDIANAPOLIS -- The Pacers are making old-school basketball trendy, winning with defence, balanced scoring and strong second halves. On Tuesday, they did it again. Roy Hibbert scored 22 points and Lance Stephenson fell just short of his fourth triple double this season, helping the Pacers hold off Torontos late charge for an 86-79 victory that allowed them to keep the NBAs best record. "We didnt let them get physical with us," Stephenson said, referring to the stark contrast to Indianas loss last week north of the border. "That was a point of emphasis." The Pacers (28-6) have won three straight since that loss at Toronto and have a two-game lead over two-time defending champion Miami in the Eastern Conference. This was no typical night in Indiana. Some Pacers fans stayed home because of the poor road conditions in and around the city, and both teams started sluggishly -- perhaps a result of their own weather-related travel delays. Because of the snowstorm that swept through the Midwest on Sunday and the frigid temperatures that delivered a second big blow to Indianapolis on Monday and Tuesday, the Raptors (16-17) were forced to stay in Miami two days longer than planned and didnt arrive in town until about five hours before tip-off. Things didnt go much smoother for the Pacers, who endured a seemingly endless round of delays as they tried to return home following Sunday nights game at Cleveland. So when All-Star Paul George picked up his second foul less than five minutes into the game, the Pacers knew they would have to revert to their traditional style. "Our guys buckled down and had a great defensive performance," coach Frank Vogel said. Hibbert led the charge. He helped the Pacers dominate the middle with a 53-36 rebounding edge and a 40-26 scoring advantage in the paint. The 7-foot-2 centre was 5 of 12 from the field and 12 of 13 from the free throw line with eight rebounds and three blocks. Stephenson, the league leader with three triple doubles, did his thing, too. He finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Danny Granger, the former All-Star who is working his way back into game shape, came off the bench to match his season high with 13 poinnts, and George Hill and Paul George each added 11 for Indiana.dddddddddddd And defensively, the Pacers were stifling. They held the Raptors (16-17) to a season-low point total by limiting them to just 37.0 per cent shooting from the field -- their third-worst performance of the season. Coach Dwane Casey didnt blame the poor shooting effort on the abrupt change of plans but rather his teams inability to effectively counterpunch against the Pacers inside. "Shooters legs, sea legs, whatever you want to call it, it was there," Casey said. "We can have all the excuses, but again, in a game like this, youve got to man up and bring it." DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 28 points, while Patrick Patterson added 20 and Kyle Lowry had 16. Nobody else reached double figures for the Raptors, who have played their best basketball of the season over the last month though theyve lost back-to-back road games -- at Miami and Indiana -- following a four-game winning streak. Toronto fought hard most of the night, jumping to an 11-4 lead and cutting an eight-point second quarter deficit to 32-31 with a 7-0 spurt. But the Pacers seized control by closing out the first half on a 12-5 run that made it 44-36, then used an 8-0 third-quarter run to break it open. Indiana led 71-54 in the final minute of the quarter before Toronto made one last rally. The Raptors closed to 77-70 on Lowrys layup with 4:14 to go, made it 81-75 when Patterson hit a 3 with 2:51 to play and got it to six two more times. Twice, they had chances to get even closer, but they missed 3s both times in the final minute and the Pacers held on. "We remembered these guys from a couple of games ago. We let that one get away," said David West, who finished with 12 rebounds and four points. "Tonight we made a point of protecting our home court." NOTES: Indiana improved to 17-1 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. ... Toronto hosts Detroit on Wednesday after completing a three-game road trip. ... The Pacers have a 2-1 lead in the season series and wont face Toronto again until April 4. ... Raptors forward Tyler Hansbrough, an ex-Pacer, did not play because of a sprained left ankle. 22:51ET 07-01-14 Cheap Jerseys Store Jerseys NFL Cheap Cheap NFL Black Jerseys China Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Jerseys Camo China NFL Jerseys
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