Monday, May 20, 2024

Spain 2-3 England: Sterling ends goal drought with brace to earn historic victory

Daniel Orme in Editorial, General Soccer News 15 Oct 2018

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Raheem Sterling ended a long international goal drought as he helped England to a memorable 3-2 victory against Spain at the Estadio Benito Villamarin in the UEFA Nations League on Monday evening.

Gareth Southgate’s men raced into a spectacular first-half advantage as Sterling scored his first England goal in three years with a stunning effort before Marcus Rashford struck with a clinical finish. Sterling was once again on the scoresheet as he tapped home before the break.

Substitute Paco Alcacer was only on the pitch a matter of minutes as he nodded a corner into the net only minutes into the second-half to reduce the deficit. England held firm though to capture the famous victory. Sergio Ramos pulled another goal back for the hosts with a stooping header in the final second of the game.

Spain dominate the opening exchanges

As predicted, the hosts started the game in electric fashion and could have opened the scoring on two occasions from set pieces.  A corner was worked to Thiago Alcantara on the edge of the box and he had a powerful effort deflected behind. Sergio Ramos then nodded on another corner towards Marcos Alonso and he looked sure to score but Jordan Pickford somehow deflected the ball off of the line.

The Spaniards should have profited off of a mistake from Kieran Trippier as Marco Asensio seized the ball. However, the Real Madrid man sent a tame effort straight at the England goalkeeper.

Sterling’s wait for England ends

Despite all of the Spanish pressure in the opening minutes, it was Gareth Southgate’s men who were to hit the front. Rashford had time to pick out Sterling who had run beyond the Spanish defence. He then showed razor sharp instincts to emphatically dispatch the ball high into the top corner beyond David De Gea for his first goal for the Three Lions for three years.

Spain almost replied as Rodrigo found space from a free kick but he could not beat Pickford at the near post.

Simple yet effective

Whilst the first England strike was a thing of beauty, the second England goal was simplicity personified. A long kick from Pickford was charged down by Harry Kane and the Tottenham man found Rashford with a great through ball. The striker, one-on-one with De Gea, was cool in front of goal as he tucked the ball into the bottom corner.

The lead was then extended even further as Sterling yet again found the net. Barkley looped an excellent ball into Kane and he tapped the ball into the path of the Manchester City man who had the simplest of tasks to tap the ball into the empty net to give England a huge lead going into the break.

Alcacer earns foothold for Spain

The first chance of the second period fell to Asensio. He controlled the ball in the penalty area and struck for the bottom corner only to see his drive deflected wide.

Luis Enrique then attempted to turn the tide in Seville as he introduced Paco Alcacer. The on-loan Dortmund man had quite the impact as he immediately nodded home from a corner to cut England’s advantage to two.

The hosts might have got another as Pickford attempted to dribble away from Rodrigo but got it horribly wrong. The Valencia man looked sure to score but was then seemingly tugged back by the England stopper. Penalty calls rained down from the stands but the referee was controversially uninterested.

England hold firm to secure victory

Spain continued to create opportunities with Alcacer and Thiago both going close from range. Ramos was the man to further reduce England’s advantage in the final second of the game as he stooped to nod home Ceballos’ cross.

However, it was far too late for the hosts as England secured a memorable victory.

Final Thoughts

What a stunning victory from England. The Three Lions were made to defend and bide their time in Seville but when they did have their opportunities, they were clinical. Rashford and Sterling really did trouble the Spanish defence with their pace and that was a key feature of England’s win.

As a result, Southgate now has his first win in the UEFA Nations League and will now look forward to their match against Croatia during the next international break. Elsewhere, Spain will look to get back to winning ways against the same opposition.

Match Report

Spain: De Gea (6); Jonny (5), Nacho (6), Ramos (5), Alonso (6); Busquets (6), Saul (5) (Alcacer (7), 57′); Asensio (6), Rodrigo (5) (Morata (5), 73′), Aspas (5) (Ceballos (5), 57′).

England: Pickford (6), Chilwell (7), Gomez (6), Maguire (7), Trippier (7) (Alexander-Arnold (N/A), 85′); Dier (7), Winks (7) (Chalobah (N/A), 90+1′), Barkley (7) (Walker (N/A), 76′); Sterling (8), Kane (8), Rashford (8).

Goals: Sterling (16′, 38′), Rashford (29′), Alcacer (58′)

Referee: Szymon Marchiniak

Yellow Cards: Dier (11′), Ramos (64′), Winks (64′), Maguire (71′), Jonny (75′), Ceballos (87′), Morata (90+8′)

Red Cards: N/A


Daniel Orme

Daniel is a football journalism graduate from the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately six years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.



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