Spain rescue a draw with England
Written By: Robert Halter
In a mid November evening, England faced Spain at Wembley stadium for an international friendly fixture, which marked the end of Gareth Southgate’s spell as the Three Lions interim manager while Spain were also under new management with Julen Lopetegui taking charge. In the seventh minute, after Adam Lallana’s through ball put Jamie Vardy in on goal, he was pulled down by Spain’s keeper, Jose Reina, as referee, Ovidiu Alin Hategan, awarded a spot kick, and up stepped Lallana to apply the finish, by striking the ball into the top right side of the net. On the quarter of the hour mark, Spain went close as Juan Mata supplied a pass to Vitolo, whose right footed shot from the centre of the box was turned wide of the left post. Midway through the first half after Lallana picked up a knock from Thiago Alcantara, it required England to make an enforced change with Lallana unable to continue as Theo Walcott took over. In the thirty first minute, Walcott forced Reina into a save, with a right footed shot from outside the box which was destined for the bottom right corner. Before the second half resumed, Spain switched Mata with Iago Aspas and also took off Vitolo for Koke while England removed Gary Cahill for Phil Jagielka and replaced their keeper Joe Hart with Tom Heaton brought on. It was the Three Lions quickest out of the traps, as Jesse Lingard found Walcott in space, whose strike was deflected off Nacho into the outside netting of the right post. But on forty eight minutes, England grabbed a second when from a poor header out by Nacho, a cross on the right by Henderson, was met with a diving header by Vardy, as he got in front of Daniel Carvajal, to send the ball past Reina, into the left side of the goal. In the fifty first minute, Vardy turned provider as he put the ball through to Walcott, whose strike cannoned off Reina, before Henderson steered the ball wide. But on fifty six minutes, a chance was spurned by Spain, as Koke put the ball over to his captain, David Silva, whose strike bounced off Heaton, before Aspas skied his shot over. Another Spanish change saw Alcantara replaced by Ander Herrera. On the hour mark, a right footed shot by Koke from outside the area was saved by Heaton, towards the top centre of the goal from an assist by Silva. Then two minutes later, England went close when Raheem Sterling’s incisive pass was met by Lingard, before the ball was swept away from the goal line by Nacho. Spain then brought on Isco for Silva and Alvaro Morata for Aritz Aduriz before England took off Sterling for Andros Townsend before Marcus Rashford appeared for Vardy. In the seventy first minute, Koke laid the ball off to Morata, whose low strike was comfortably stopped by Heaton. Another Spanish substitution saw Nolito brought on for Sergio Busquets before England switched Danny Rose with Aaron Creswell. But on eighty nine minutes, Spain pulled a goal back as Morata spearheaded the move, before Aspas unleashed a finish that bent past John Stones and Heaton, into the top left side of the net. As Spain searched for an equaliser, they went close in stoppage time as Morata’s pass was laid off by Koke, before Isco’s strike was deflected off Stones and narrowly wide. But The Three Lions responded and were denied by the top of the right upright as Lingard’s strike hit the frame of the goal, after being played through by Rashford, from Townsend’s delivery. But dramatically, Spain equalised in the last kick of the game when at a tight angle, Isco squeezed the ball through Heaton’s legs, from an over the top delivery by Carvajal, as England squandered a two goal lead in the dying moments of the game to leave Spain celebrating a courageous fight back as the match ended all square at two goals apiece.