Sports

Nations League: Spain beat England 2-1

London, Sep 9 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/9/2018 11:51:04 AM IST

England’s UEFA Nations League campaign began with defeat as Spain claimed a 2-1 victory at Wembley on Saturday evening.

England took the lead through Marcus Rashford (11) but were pegged back through close-range finishes from Saul Niguez (13) and Rodrigo (32).

England came on strongly late on and had a last-minute equaliser controversially ruled out after Danny Welbeck was adjudged to have fouled David de Gea.

There was a worrying sight as Luke Shaw was stretchered off needing oxygen after suffering a head injury in a collision with Danjal Carvahal. 

Spain’s victory sees Luis Enrique kick off a new era for Spanish football in his first game in charge, although they did have De Gea to thank for some typically astute goalkeeping, bar his late error that went unpunished.

England have now played top-20 nations on 11 occasions but have yet to win in normal time since Gareth Southgate’s appointment in 2016.

Southgate’s side did not take long to use the momentum of the jubilant crowd as they constructed a classy opening goal on 11 minutes. The move started deep with a Kieran Trippier nutmeg which sprung a counter-attack that found Shaw sprinting away on the left flank. The Manchester United left-back composed himself and conjured up a fantastic low cross that was tapped home from close range by Rashford.

The lead lasted two minutes with Spain forcing Shaw back towards his own goal and using the trickery of Carvajal to open England up. The Real Madrid full-back linked with Rodrigo and his cutback was fired home by Saul.

Although Spain were dominating possession, there was little between the teams in terms of threatening moments but it was the visitors that struck next on 32 minutes. A free-kick was poorly defended by England and Rodrigo swept home from close range.

De Gea produced a spectacular one-handed save just before the break to deny Rashford.

Shaw’s injury caused the game to be stopped for five minutes which did not help England find rhythm to their play as Spain controlled proceedings with some fantastic possession football.

Spain could not find the killer third goal and England gathered momentum with Rashford being denied on 81 minutes as De Gea beat away his effort and a lacklustre Kane fired the rebound wide.

There was one last chance for Southgate’s men as Welbeck turned home from close range after De Gea had fumbled an aerial catch against the Arsenal man, but the referee deemed it a foul.

 

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