UEFA Nations League: 3 reasons why England beat Spain
Pundits and club managers alike have questioned the concept of the UEFA Nations League, but tonight’s game between England and Spain in Seville should go a long way to keeping those dissenters quiet.
Gareth Southgate’s young Three Lions side came away with a huge victory in the end, racing into a three-goal lead at half time, and while Spain came back with a vengeance in the second half, it wasn’t enough as the match finished 2-3 in England’s favour – with Spain’s final goal from Sergio Ramos coming literally with the last kick (header!) of the game.
It was a remarkable win for England – the first time Spain have been beaten at home in 38 games – and their overall performance was a massive credit to Southgate, who made some tactical changes for the previous game away in Croatia and stuck with them.
Here are 3 reasons why England defeated Spain.
#1 England’s forwards finally found their scoring boots
Much has been spoken recently about the profligacy of England’s forwards, namely the Manchester-based duo of Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford. Before tonight, Sterling had gone over three years without a goal for England, and while Rashford had scored twice in the previous international break, he missed two gilt-edged chances against Croatia on Friday.
Add in the fact that talismanic captain Harry Kane hadn’t scored an England goal since the World Cup’s Round of 16, and it seemed fair to have some worries about where the Three Lions would find some goals.
Those fears were quickly proven wrong tonight though. With just 16 minutes gone, a quick break found Rashford, who played a perfectly weighted ball across to Sterling, and without a second thought, the Man City star lashed the ball across David de Gea and into the net. It was as if he’d been scoring goals like that for years.
13 minutes later it was Kane who turned provider, as he ended another quick break with a beautiful ball to Rashford – who confidently took one touch to control it before slotting past de Gea for a second goal.
By the time Ross Barkley chipped a wonderful ball over the top to Kane, who crossed to Sterling for a simple tap-in, England were in dreamland – three goals in front against a favoured Spanish side.
While the credit has to go to Sterling and Rashford for finding such advantageous positions, a lot must go to Gareth Southgate, too. Many managers would’ve dropped Sterling a long time ago after missing so many chances in recent times, while many others would’ve removed Rashford after his performance on Friday.
Southgate though kept faith with his two youngsters – and wouldn’t you just know it, it paid off in spades. England had just three attempts on target tonight, and all three of them went in.