Spain tame the Three Lions
Written By: Robert Halter
In the early part of September, the UEFA Nations League fixture between England and Spain was staged at Wembley stadium, where Luis Enrique took charge of La Roja for the first time. In the eleventh minute, England forged ahead as Jordan Henderson and Harry Kane combined, before Luke Shaw slid the ball through to Marcus Rashford, who drove his shot past his Manchester United team mate, David De Gea in the Spanish goal. But the Three Lions lead was short lived as Dani Carvajal and Rodrigo Moreno carved an opening for Saul Niguez, who fired his strike past the trailing hand of England keeper, Jordan Pickford, for a rapid equaliser by Spain. Midway through the first half, Thiago Alcantara put the ball across to Moreno, whose effort drifted wide of the right post. On twenty five minutes through a cross by Kieran Trippier, a header by Kane was saved by De Gea, in the bottom right corner. Within a minute, Joe Gomez supplied Dele Alli, who in turn found Kane, whose low strike went straight into the body of De Gea. In the thirty first minute, after Trippier lunged into Marcus Alonso, a free kick by Alcantara on the left, was drilled into the bottom left corner by Moreno, past a helpless Pickford, to give Spain a 2-1 advantage over the Three Lions. In the thirty fifth minute, from a short corner between Shaw and Alli, a delivery from Jesse Lingard, was met full on from a header by Rashford, as De Gea acrobatically leapt into the air to turn the ball over. But Spain responded from a Carvajal delivery that was put back out from Henderson, and Niguez struck a low shot directly at Pickford. There was a break of play during the start of the second half as Shaw was out cold after a head collision into Carvajal, and he was taken off, as Danny Rose took over. In the fifty fifth minute, Isco laid the ball off to Alonso, who put the ball across field to Alcantara, who whipped a strike narrowly over the crossbar. In the sixty first minute, a neat pass by Alonso set up Niguez, but he drove a left footed strike into the route of Pickford, who comfortably protected his net. England soon took off Henderson for Eric Dier and later Spain changed Iago Aspas with Marco Asensio before making a further change of Sergi Roberto for Alcantara. In the eighty first minute, Kane linked up play with Rashford, whose shot at goal spun off De Gea’s leg, before Kane put the rebound wide of the left post. On eighty seven minutes from Trippier’s corner, a cushioned header by Harry Maguire, went wide of the right post. A final substitution was made by Spain when Inigo Martinez replaced Alonso. Nine minutes of added time was played, and from a poor back pass by John Stones, the ball was blazed over from Moreno. After replacing Rashford, an immediate impact was made by Danny Welbeck, who had a goal ruled out for charging down De Gea before scoring, after Spanish captain, Sergio Ramos had smashed the ball into the air, from Gomez’s ball into the box. Then following a Gomez throw in, the ball was put wide off a Welbeck header, with the game ending 2-1 in favour of Spain, who topped Group A of the UEFA Nations League, leaving England in search of their first victory in the tournament.