Spain – England: England’s clinical attack stuns high-flying Spain (2-3)
England’s forwards put Spain’s defense to the sword in the first half, giving England a three-goal lead. After the break, England stood strong against Spain’s attack for the most part, although they may have been slightly fortunate to hold their lead.
Luis Enrique could barely have hoped for a better start as Spain manager. He began with a 1-2 win over England at Wembley, and a few days later his team demolished World Cup semi-finalists Croatia 6-0. Those results put them at the top of their Nations League group going into this game.
England did not win a competitive game since their 2-0 victory over Sweden in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Russia. Granted, these games have all been against strong opposition, but it shows that The Three Lions are not in their best shape. In the 0-0 draw against Croatia, Gareth Southgate moved away from the 3-5-2 formation that brought England to the World Cup semi-finals, instead experimenting with a 4-3-3 shape.
Southgate has stated that this formation change is partly because of England’s fresh batch of young and talented wingers. The only personnel changes compared to the game in Croatia were the introduction of Joe Gomez and Harry Winks in place of John Stones and Jordan Henderson, who were both serving suspensions.
Luis Enrique set Spain up in his preferred 4-3-3 formation. After being rested for the game against Wales, regulars such as Nacho, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets, Marcos Alonso, Thiago Alcántara, Marco Asensio as well as Rodrigo Moreno returned to the side. Wolves wing-back Jonny Castro Otto also came in, replacing César Azpilicueta at right-back.