England edge past Spain
Written By: Robert Halter
The reigning World and European champions Spain, graced the Wembley stage in a November friendly as England faced their first test since achieving qualification to Euro 2012 following a 2-2 draw in Montenegro but if the Three Lions are to achieve success in Poland and Ukraine they will have to beat the best in Europe and there are no tougher opponents in world football at the moment than their evening opponents La Roja. Iker Casillas made the first block of the game as the Spanish captain stopped a shot from England’s captain Frank Lampard after thirty one minutes. Five minutes later, Spain threatened for the first time as from Xabier Alonso’s chip, the ball was met on the volley by Sergio Busquets but he turned his effort over the crossbar. But it was England that took the lead four minutes into the second half after Alvaro Arbeloa pulled down James Milner and from Milner’s resulting free kick, Darren Bent headed the ball against the inside of the right hand post but Lampard was at hand to nod the rebound into an empty net. On fifty five minutes, David Villa should have brought the game back to all square but as he rounded Joe Hart, he could only put his shot against the side netting, after Buquests had opened up the England defence. Replacement goalkeeper, Jose Reina had to react to a lunging back pass by his own player Jordi Alba, to divert the goal threat from Danny Welbeck as England looked to close the game out in the sixty sixth minute. An intuitive piece of trickery by Villa nearly resulted in a Spanish goal six minutes later, as Villa brought the ball down and then on the volley was denied an equaliser by the base of the right post, with Hart beaten. Time was running out for Spain as Cesc Fabregas squeezed the ball wide of the left post in the eighty first minute. With two minutes of normal time remaining, Fabregas first had his strike through the legs of Phil Jagielka, comfortably saved by Hart and then scuffed an effort in front of goal to waste Villa’s cross which ended Spain’s hopes of salvaging a draw after England weathered the storm to hold onto a slender advantage and produce a major scalp in Fabio Capello’s tenure in charge.