UEFA Nations League: Spain 2-3 England - 5 takeaways from the game
Spain went into their third fixture of the UEFA Nations League group D clash at the Estadio Bennito Villamarin in Seville against England in buoyant mood, sitting top of their group on six points, courtesy victories coming in their previous two fixtures, a 6-0 drubbing of Croatia, and a 2-1 victory over the Three Lions themselves in England, as well as a 4-1 triumph over Wales in a friendly at Cardiff last week.
However, their confidence was soon dashed, as La Furia Roja found themselves behind inside just 16 minutes, when Sterling was on hand to tap home his first goal in his country’s colours in over three years, while also making him the first English player to score in Spain since Gary Lineker in 1987.
Just 13 minutes later, the Manchester City winger got his brace, as he buried home England’s second in the 22nd minute. Marcos Rashford made it 3-0 just before half-time, while in-form Borrusia Dortmund forward Paco Alcacer continued his fine run of form when he pulled one back, with captain Sergio Ramos grabbing a consolation goal for the hosts deep into stoppage time..
It was a shattering crash back to Earth for Spain, who are on a rebuilding phase after their shocking World Cup elimination, and had built momentum since former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique was announced as manager, winning five out of their five fixtures since.
The defeat marked the first time Spain had ever conceded three goals at home in a competitive fixture, as well as their first loss in a competitive fixture at home since 2003, and it is a result which would leave a sour taste in the mouth of Spanish fans. Here are five takeaways from the match.
#5 Sergio Ramos is not an effective defensive leader
Sergio Ramos is widely acknowledged as one of the best defenders in the world, making it into the FIFPro XI for each of the last six editions. But beneath all the trophies won and dying minute goals scored lies the fact that Sergio Ramos is not that great a defender.
The 32-year-old has been a permanent fixture in the Madrid lineup since his 2005 switch from Sevilla, and his time at the Bernabeu has been richly rewarding in terms of trophies won particularly in the last four years since he was named captain of the side.
It is a well-known fact that Real Madrid defence is not the strongest in the world, and the backbone of their success in recent years has been the extreme potency of their attack. Los Blancos rely on their famed forwards to outscore their opponents, which has largely worked over the last few years.
As an out and out defender, Sergio Ramos is not really that great, constantly beaten in one-on-ones by strikers, and usually showing rash judgement which leads to unnecessary bookings and sending offs, but covers this up with his goals and trophies lifted.
Against England, the Spain captain continuously showed a lack of awareness by failing to pick Kane up and allowing the Tottenham man to drop deep unmarked, and it was from this position that he was able to play crucial roles in setting up England’s second and third goals.
Sergio Ramos is a veteran of highest proportions, and the man tasked with leading the Spanish backline. So making elementary errors like he did against England (which happens way too often) is rather disappointing, and is one that can’t be covered despite his consolation goal.