England v Spain: Hits and Flops
On Saturday night, we saw England and Spain play their first ever UEFA Nations League fixture, it was also our first chance to get a look at both sides after their exploits at the World Cup.
England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia, their best performance in a World Cup since 1990. It was a tougher time for Spain, who, after sacking Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament, were knocked out in the round of 16 by Russia.
This was the first international break in which we have seen the new Nations League, and if you don’t really get it, don’t worry, you are certainly not the only one.
It was Spain who came out on top at Wembley, coming from behind to pick up a 2-1 win, and take control of their Nations League group.
It was England who took an early lead though, with Marcus Rashford slotting home his fourth international goal from short range after an excellent pass from Luke Shaw.
Just two minutes later though, Spain were level, Thiago Alcantara pulling the ball back to Saul Niguez to fire beyond Jordan Pickford. They were ahead before half time, with Thiago once again the creator, with Rodrigo sweeping home his free kick at the near post.
Here are the hits and flops from the game at Wembley.
Spain have struggled to find a consistent centre forward in recent years, since the international retirements of David Villa and Fernando Torres. Rodrigo was given the opportunity to lead the line on Saturday night, with Diego Costa missing the match due to personal reasons. He did an excellent job, and constantly caused the England backline problems running in behind. He also got his goal, beating Jordan Pickford at his near post, and will hope that is enough to keep his place in this Spain side.
Flop: Jordan Henderson
The real criticism of England during the World Cup was the lack of creativity in the midfield. Henderson didn’t really solve that problem against Spain, and he was also responsible for Spain’s second goal. He should really have done more to clear Thiago’s goal at the near post, but was caught out of position. It probably won’t prove too much of a problem in terms of his spot in the side, but only because of the lack of competition in that area.