UEFA Nations League 2018/19: England vs Spain: 3 Talking Points
Spain beat England 2-1 at the Wembley Stadium in a Group A match of the inaugural UEFA Nations’ League on 8th September. England went ahead through a Marcus Rashford goal in the 11th minute but Spain restored parity in the 13th minute through a Saul Niguez goal. Rodrigo again scored in the first half to put Spain ahead and they managed to hold on to the lead till the end.
Both teams made some changes in their staring elevens. England played Gomez as one of the centre backs in their back-three and Luke Shaw as the left-back. Spain played Saul Niguez in the central midfield, Nacho in the central defence, Marcus Alonso as the left-back and Rodrigo in the right wing. Players like Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and David Silva did not feature in that young Spanish team.
Spain were the more skilful of the two teams and also enjoyed 55% ball possession in the match. However, England had their share of chances too and got ample opportunities to equalise. Both teams made 11 attempts at goal but England had 4 corners to Spain’s 1.
The win put Spain in a comfortable position as they were able to secure a vital away win. Newly appointed coach Luis Enrique can afford breathe a sigh of relief after his team performed reasonably well against the World Cup semifinalists. We would like to take a look at the 3 things we learned from the match.
#1 Rodrigo is the real deal
Spain have found a really good wing forward in the shape of their No. 9, Rodrigo. Rodrigo scored the winner against England and also provided the assist for Spain’s first goal. He was a livewire on the right wing and gave England’s left-back Luke Shaw a torrid time.
The way he scored his goal sneaking through a couple of English defenders was enough to underline his prowess as an opportunistic goal-scorer too. It was his third international goal. Moreover, his assist to Saul Niguez also demonstrated his superb ball control and ability to think fast.
Rodrigo was in the Spanish squad for the 2018 World Cup but did not get much game time. He was given a chance as a substitute against Russia and his cameo was impressive. Spain have had some superb forwards like David Villa and Fernando Torres in the last 10-15 years and Rodrigo could well go on to be their suitable replacement.