Nations League: Spain edge England 2-1; Switzerland hammer Iceland
Spain bounced back to a superior victory in Luis Enrique’s first competitive match as the national coach beating England 2-1 in their opening Nations League encounter at Wembley on Sunday.
Enrique, who replaced interim head coach Fernando Hierro after the latter stepped down from the position following an early World Cup exit against hosts Russia, fielded a strong XI and so did England boss Gareth Southgate.
Southgate has always been vocal about revolutionising English football and on Sunday the former England international fielded almost the same team that made it to the semi-finals at the World Cup. Luke Shaw was the only player among those that started the match to have not been part of the squad in Russia.
Both teams started well and were on the score-sheet before half-time, but it was England, who took the lead when Marcus Rashford got to the end of a wonderful cross from Luke Shaw to head ball home past club teammate David de Gea.
But moments later the La Roja equalised with Saul Niguez scoring from a first-time volley after chesting down a Rodrigo cross to make it 1-1
Rodrigo then scored one himself in the 32nd minute, redirecting a Thiago Alcantara free-kick to leave Jordan Pickford stranded in the English goal.
The match, however, took a controversial turn when substitute Danny Welbeck’s goal was disallowed for an alleged foul on De Gea in the final minutes of injury time. After spending most of the evening chasing the game, England pushed for the equaliser in the final 15 minutes.
Harry Maguire came close with a header that sailed inches wide of the post after Luke Shaw had to be stretched out following a rough head collision with Dani Carvajal. The 23-year-old was England’s most lively player on the pitch and the moment he was forced out, the game slowed down for England.
Welbeck, however, looked to have levelled terms for the home team when he pounced onto a loose ball inside the Spain penalty box. But the linesman raised his flag ruling the goal out for a foul on the goalkeeper.
In the other matches, Switzerland hammered six past Iceland, while Luxembourg routed Moldova 4-0.
Image Source: The Independent