Spain 2-3 England: Hits and Flops from the game
England registered their first win in Spain since 1987 when they came out 3-2 winners against La Roja after what proved to be a riveting clash at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on Monday night. Gareth Southgate's men got off their blocks in tremendous fashion and worked their way to a healthy three-goal lead by the end of the first-half.
Raheem Sterling opened the scoring in the 16th minute to put an end to his three-year goal drought for the national team when he dispatched an unstoppable shot that soared into the top corner before the visitors extended their lead through Marcus Rashford just 13 minutes later.
Sterling added a second in the 38th minute, after a neat and precise passage of play by England, when he got on the end of a cut-back from Harry Kane. Despite their staggering start, the hosts came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and pulled a goal back in the 58th minute through Paco Alacacer, who scored with a header shortly after his introduction.
Luis Enrique's men continued to push forward but were undone by a resolute England defence that dug in deep, determined to come out with a win. Sergio Ramos pulled one more back in the final minute of stoppage time but it was a little too late for Spain to salvage a point as the referee blew the whistle right after the goal was scored to call curtains on a pulsating encounter.
The result meant that Group 4 in League A of the UEFA Nations League is still wide open but Spain continue to remain at the top with six points compared to England's four from the three games played so far. On that note, let's take a closer look at the best and worst performers from the game:
#5 Hit - Jordan Pickford
Despite conceding two goals at the end of the night, Jordan Pickford managed to punch above his weight on a number of instances throughout the game. Prior to this game, Spain had scored 42 goals in their previous 10 international fixtures and hence keeping a clean sheet was perhaps too much to ask from the England custodian.
However, Pickford managed to make a few crucial blocks in the opening stages of the game and did not wilt under the pressing from the home side as he received the ball and played it out from the back with good effect. The Englishman also displayed his excellent distribution skills when he initiated the moves that helped both Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford bag their goals.
The 24-year-old almost self-destructed when he tried to do too much with the ball at his feet against Rodrigo but recovered just in a time to clear the ball and prevent the striker from pouncing on and halving the deficit in the second half. Barring that heart-in-the-mouth moment, Pickford looked assured and comfortable between the sticks for the visitors.