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Realism rules but England have cause for optimism

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Phil McNulty | 07:14 UK time, Sunday, 13 November 2011

When Scotland beat World Cup holders England at Wembley in 1967, the joyous Tartan Army took a cue from boxing and declared that the title of global rulers was now theirs.

England performed a similar feat in beating world and European champions Spain on Saturday - but on this occasion Wembley was awash with perspective and realism ruled amid the pleasure gleaned from Frank Lampard's winner.

Fabio Capello will not use victory as a form guide for Euro 2012 or an indication that his side is closing the gap on the Spanish artists. When and where it truly matters, in serious competition, England cannot even dream of being their equals, let alone betters.

This does not mean, however, that a victory built on industry, resilience and unbending tactical discipline is not a matter of some significance to Capello and his players.

A statistical analysis of events at Wembley would have placed England behind Spain in most areas except, rather crucially, for the one that defines the outcome. For all Spain's possession and passing patterns it was England who scored the goal that won the game.

And to pour cold water on England's celebrations is both churlish and unfair. It is not a result that changes football's landscape but it is a mean spirit that does not allow them to enjoy beating the world's finest national team, irrespective of the status of the game.

Capello may have sported a carnation as a sign that part of his heart was in Milan, where his son Pierfilippo was getting married, but he kept a little bit of Italy back at Wembley and saved it for Spain.

Jack Rodwell

Everton's Jack Rodwell (right) impressed against Spain on his debut. Photo:Getty Images

England's gameplan was the direct result of Capello's Italian roots. Spain may have had the possession but they found immovable opponents and once Lampard headed England into the lead four minutes after half-time they soaked up what Spain had to offer to delight the Wembley gallery.

It was a night when Capello openly accepted England's limitations - and rightly so. He made it clear in his pre-match briefing that no-one could take Spain on at their own game. He knew to do so would be the equivalent of a tactical suicide note.

So this game became the living embodiment of one of Capello's little nervous ticks. When he sits down to face the media, he has developed a habit of rearranging dictaphones in front of him in his beloved "9-1" formation, which he believes epitomises the modern approach.

This was the framework he used for victory against Spain. At times striker Darren Bent was virtually in solitary confinement as Spain took possession, but behind him was a feverish work-rate and a desire not to simply accept the obvious technical superiority of Vicente del Bosque's side.

And from this came a measure of optimism for the present and the future for both England and Capello. It is not that they are now serious contenders for Euro 2012, but there is at least plenty to take away from Wembley in confidence and self-belief.

England also faced a Spain team that was flat and unable to move through the gears with their normal slick ease. For a side of such lavish gifts they struggled to fashion an end product.

For Capello, however, there were positives in many areas, though we must resist the urge to get carried away.

My own view was that a meeting with the World Cup winners was made for Wayne Rooney, and once captain John Terry was selected it made little sense to leave him out of a game carrying such prestige.

Capello's decisions were vindicated by the result, which will carry extra weight as it was also achieved without that influential, pair as well as key midfield men Jack Wilshere and Steven Gerrard. It also allowed players from varying generations to stake their claims for Euro 2012.

In a rare outburst of public praise, Capello described central defensive pair Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott as "fantastic" and called Scott Parker's performance "incredible." He was not far wrong.

Lescott has often cut a figure shorn of confidence with England, but it is no coincidence that arguably his two finest displays, at Wembley against Spain and in the Euro 2012 qualifying win in Switzerland last season, came alongside his one-time Everton partner Jagielka.

It seems Jagielka's presence and authority brings out the best in Lescott and the Manchester City defender was magnificent, showing an assurance he has rarely demonstrated for his country. They were formidable together at club level and were again against Spain.

With Phil Jones, who stuck manfully to his task in an unfamiliar central midfield role before being substituted, also likely to battle for a central defensive berth next summer, this may have been the night that Rio Ferdinand's England future moved even further behind him.

Parker received a standing ovation when he was substituted late on and no-one would begrudge him a second of it. Defensive shield, ball carrier, tackler - he did it all. It was a performance that made a nonsense of Capello's decision to ignore him for so long, especially given his form at West Ham United last season.

Capello appeared to reserve particular excitement and animation for England's younger brigade, who he is convinced will bring energy, personality and fearlessness to his squad as next summer approaches.

Everton's Jack Rodwell has long been touted as an England player but his career stood still last season before flourishing again in a struggling side this term.

The suspicion lurked that for all his natural talent, he lacked a ruthless streak, the phrase used among Everton fans being "too much Birkdale not enough Kirkdale". Birkdale is the more affluent area of his birth, as opposed to the tougher area of Kirkdale, so hardly a compliment to his style.

Ironically, the incident in which Rodwell was wrongly sent off for challenging Liverpool's Luis Suarez in the Merseyside derby was an illustration of what had been missing from his game and what Everton manager David Moyes wanted him to discover: steel to go with silk.

Rodwell now looks more capable of fulfilling that promise, and although definitive judgements must never be made on the evidence of 33 minutes in a friendly, he has put himself firmly in Capello's thoughts and will get other opportunities.

Manchester United's Danny Welbeck won another Capello namecheck after an impressive cameo as a substitute, while more will be seen of Tottenham's Kyle Walker against Sweden at Wembley on Tuesday, when Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge will also make his debut.

So hardly a time for euphoria or an instant readjustment of England's Euro 2012 expectations - but still an excellent victory well worth celebrating.


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  • Comment number 1.

    First, the benefits of getting up early to play football i guess. Great title for the blog and a very good reference to Scotland.

    Every single English fan should be proud that we have beaten Spain and most fans thought we would be totally embarrassed.

    Danny Mills and a few others are searching to see what Fabio could have learned from a back against the wall win with Spain.

    But i think alot can be learned. At some point we come across Spain in the tournament, and when Spain are under pressure they do wobble and play long balls.

    But defend well then hit them on the counter is the only way to beat them, and England have to learn to be more efficient in the counter attack and 2 shots on target with 1 goal just shows that we can do it.

    This remind me of Blues beating the mighty gunners last year for the carling cup, but then we went on to be relegated, i hope the win didnt go to the heads of the players and on Wednesday go and prove to the fans that they have the long term wining mentality and put in a good performance against Sweden.

  • Comment number 2.

    It's encouraging to see very young players performng well, but the thought of England embarking on another media fueled 'we can win' crusade makes me feel nauseous.
    The end result is always so utterly predictable, so please lets not celebrate a meanigless friendly it's totally irrelevant celebration, should be for when England finally win something.

  • Comment number 3.

    Spain must be the most average world champions I have seen for a long time. They flatter to deceive by their constant posession but Hart had hardly anything to do all first half & only when they went behind did they show any urgency! I know they have changed alot of players, but with so much talent on show, they produced very little.
    England look much better with the youngsters & even if they acheive nothing next year, they should be building for the future.

  • Comment number 4.

    Quite rightly, No one should take away the discipline of the England team against a Spanish team is regarded as the best national side in the world currently, On a more positive note from an England fan perspective, I think The mixture of Young talented players and the old cargo of old is doing good for England chances in Next Euro......

    As football is funny we might see another side of Discipline from England against Sweden....When all English fan expect the the three lions to win...If not convincingly, but Win at all cost......

    Do i dare to dream England have a chance in Poland and Ukraine come next Summer ???????????

    Guess I have the Right...............Good Luck The Musketeers

  • Comment number 5.

    delighted england won but the gulf in talent,class,ability,depth is embarrassing.spain if it was a major competition would of won,without a doubt.england couldnt hold onto the ball for more than 6-7 passes without losing it or going back to hart,i dont blame cappello for the whole entire england shambles it was a mess before he got the job(actually after 96,realy being possitive).it is the players fault for choking and the hype we surround them with.would rooney get anywhere near the spain side?unlikely to say the least but we made out he is the "white pele",LOL

    it would be delusional to think of this match as england being born winners and recovering,if we beat sweden playing attacking football and hold onto the ball alot more and we defend with the same determination,the team could go somewhere but at the end of the day,the whole england mentallity is weak and one of losers,how many more times does england need to go to lampard,terry,rio,johnson,rooney these are players who have done nothing for england,look at raul for spain aragones kicked him out ,he is the same age as lampard,etc and look where spain are.the fa need to sort out the football in this country,needs to stop cashing in at every opportunity and actually do something for the kids who actually bother playing football,because spain are light years ahead,never mind the rest of the world

  • Comment number 6.

    England should be happy that they won and to be fair any win over Spain at the moment is a boost for any teams Morale.

    Spain will not be too bothered or worried by the defeat much in the same way as Switzerland was a set back to a tournament they went on too win. I thought Spain had their poorest game for a while last night but Englands style did contribute to that form.

    I am sure a few but not all England Fans will get a wee bit carried away with the result and the usual media clowns from the Tabloid Rags will start their ridiculous over the top claims about winning Euro 2012. These idiots do England the most harm every campaign.

    Its a shame in a way that at Wembley England had to play in such a manner to hold Spain and ruined the game as a spectacle in many ways, but against Spain there are not many other ways to play.

    All in all it was a friendly so I would have liked England to give it a bit more as the result does not really matter and I would agree with BBC pundits that not a lot was gleamed from the game.

    It reminded me a bit of when Scotland beat France twice as we were outplayed by the French and nicked it twice but that was for points. Not a bitter Scot so well done England not many have taken much from Spain for a while.

    On a final note with Eire looking good for Euro 2012 and Scotland not being there I would love to see England and Eire in the same group, the WC they met in was a brilliant game from what I remember.

  • Comment number 7.

    Good performance. To use an old cliche it was back to basics. Future could be bright. In Jones, Smalling, Wellbeck, Cleverly, Sturridge, Walker and co we have a glimpse of what is to come. Clearly I am biased but the fact that Sir Alex is nuturing most of them will only have a positive effect on England. My team for the future....

    Walker Jones Smalling ???
    Cleverly Wilshire Rodwell
    Sturridge Rooney Wellbeck

  • Comment number 8.

    Bring on The_Soul_Patch_of_David_Villa.
    To quote a famous Norwegian TV commentator "Your Boys took a hell of a beating"
    Obviously I'm joking, just in case your usual trolling sense of humour doesn't pick that up.

  • Comment number 9.

    World Champions England!.... NOT.

  • Comment number 10.

    Great write up, Phil.

    I have to say that last night's game was the first England match I've watched for a long time where I've actually got excited. At the end, I stood up on my own in my front room and applauded them off the pitch. The fact that it was a friendly doesn't matter a jot - it was merely that we had a game plan, stuck to it, grabbed a winner, and showed some steel. I swear I had tears in my eyes, ridiculously enough.

    As far as Lescott is concerned - yes, he had a very good game at the back in terms of blocking and intercepting, but his distribution was very poor at times (he wasn't on his own of course). His name on the team sheet doesn't fill me with confidence but if he played like that every game, then we couldn't ask for more.

    There can be no better revelation, however, than Scott Parker. I keep trying to find words to describe him but fail. He's the most unglamourously effective player I've seen in a long time, and his ability to win the ball and buy himself some space with a quick turn is outstanding. He's got Englishness about him but he plays like he's got all the time in the world (which is very un-English)... absolutely superb to watch, and if he's absent for any reason for next year's tournament, then it will be the biggest loss of all.

    The terribly disappointing thing for me last night is the constant faith shown in quite possibly the most laborious player in the Premier League, Gareth Barry. I've got nothing against the fella - he seems perfectly grounded - but he's slow and wooden, uncreative and ponderous. Why on earth Capello picks him, I will never know. There is no mobility there at all.

    Additionally - your point about Ferdinand's future slipping further away is as valid as it would be if applied to John Terry. I am no Chelsea fan, and yet despite this for many years thought Terry was the calmest most effective defender I'd seen play in England. I'm willing to revise this though, because I think I was fooled by his tub-thumping attitude, which really has hidden a multitude of sins. Right now, I think he's a bit of berk and I would love to see him replaced permanently, and not just for football reasons...

    ...over the years, I've gone from tripping over myself to watch England play, to feeling completely indifferent. This is undoubtedly because of the personnel on the pitch, and the feeling that they do not represent me as an English supporter. Watching Rooney, Terry, Cole, Gerrard, etc. does not fill me with the same pride that I used to have watching Lineker, Beardsley, Beckham, Gascoigne, Waddle, Scholes, etc. The Rooney's, Terry's, Cole's and Gerrard's play with a scowl. Supporting that is hard.

    Very interested indeed to see how we get on against Sweden. I'd love to see us tested again, but come out with another win. That would fully justify international friendlies of this calibre at this point in the season...

  • Comment number 11.

    England have rightly deserved criticism recently, but last night I thought they put in a great performance. They all worked so hard for each other and didn't let Spain play. Praise for Capello as well. He has looked like he has lost the plot after the impressive way we qualified for the World Cup, but last night he reminded us of what a good manager he is. Tactics were spot on.
    I'm not getting carried away, we are not contenders for the Euros, but credit where credit is due. England played well, let's give some praise.

  • Comment number 12.

    England won the game and can be proud of that but the performance was lacking on every level. I can agree with the writer on 1 thing here Spain was flat and still should have at least had a draw. For all the money the FA has spent on Capello he has not brought nothing new to the table for England.

    Posession was lost time and time again due to England inability to pass the ball out of defense. Losing possession of the ball through hoofing it up field time and time again will normally get you beat on the internaltional level. Defensively Lescott performance will tell you it is not Rio Ferdinand that should worry about his place but John Terry. I know everyone swears by the guy but really his performance lately have been going from bad to worse.

    In midfield you must get Wilshire back to have any chance at advancing, the current crop of midfielders cannot pass it about to save their lives. Please remove Phil Jones from your thinking as a midfielder, he looked loss there last night. The guy has a chance to be a decent player but not if you keep moving him about.

    In attack take Darren Bent to the Euros in there is no other choice but really can there be a more bland forward in English football. Welbeck is your number 9 if he is healthy. He has more football in him through his link up play and just overall speed. He practically walked pass Pique in their one on one.

    Overall the display was ok with much room for improvement.

  • Comment number 13.

    "But you are not going to win a tournament playing in that style for seven or eight games." - Danny mill's

    Greece did, so that makes his views pretty much forgettable.

    Anyway, a wins a win, but it was only a friendly. Good to see new players coming in, but we all know who will be first 11 come Euro 2012

  • Comment number 14.

    The game reminded me of an old fashioned FA Cup giant killing, where a side from the old 4th division played a top team, with the game played almost entirely in one penalty area but decided by a breakaway goal at the other end.

    Beyond suggesting that England's team spirit and work ethic is better when certain people are not around, the main thing yesterday proved is that Spain would beat England 9 times out of 10.

  • Comment number 15.

    A performance with such heart and passion had been a long time coming before last night, finally these overpaid stars played like lions under Capello! Not since Hargreaves against Portugal 5 years ago has a player worked so hard in an England shirt (Scott Parker - amazing).

    Do we really need to rely on John Terry and Rio in the starting XI? In the squad they offer experience and leadership but after last nights brilliant performance from the two 'fringe' CBs I wonder..

    So many defensive positives from last night.. But we are still so clueless on the ball...we need to move forward and learn how to play with the ball.. far too many times we won the ball after some great defending then didnt have a clue how to get the ball forward..

    One more point.. As a massive fan of both Man Utd and Wayne Rooney it pains me to say it.. but I have seen a team performance like that whilst Rooney has played... It was about the team and not about one man.

    Do we need him?

  • Comment number 16.

    @9 Nobody is thinking that we are world champions, but we have proved that we can beat them. And anyone saying its a meaningless friendly knows nothing about football and every nation loves to beat England more than most other teams. So Spain will be gutted.

    But do the fans and the players think we are the champions of world football, i think not and its only jealous individuals that think that.

    We won and thats the final line.....

    And we should celebrate the moment and the occiasion and then build upon it.

    No matter how people reduce it, we played our under strength side and beat the Champions of the world who were playing for a win.

  • Comment number 17.

    Why does spain still pick Torres? Surely there are better strikers than both Torres & Villa!! Villa is a better winger nowadays than a striker. They cannot rely on their midfielders to score all the time.

  • Comment number 18.

    more or less beat me to it. I completely agree.
    To add, though, it's the biggest con since the moon landing!

    Because Spain can string a load of passes together in midfield and keep possession of 5 full mins and do nothing else, everyone thinks it's 'the way the game should be played"!

    It's boring. And they've been found out now. It was fun whilst it lasted, of course.
    They won the euros. Sneaked a load of 1-0 wins to win the worst world cup in history. Part of their game is going down easily but I think the refs have wised up now as well. Having said that Busquets and Villa did make me chuckle last night.
    And how Ramos and Fabregas didn't get straight reds I do not know!

    Let them have 60-odd percent possession. What's the point if you can't score a goal. 20 shots, only 2 on target.
    It's like boasting about winning the lottery but not spending a penny.
    Or having the best looking girl friend but never touching her!

    Once again England setting the standards. Showing the world how to keep a clean sheet and beat the so called 'best ever'. That's why England are considered a 'top' side.

    I just hope now that all the brainwashed sky watching public realise that Spainish football is not all THAT afterall.
    Sky has everyone drooling over all things Spanish.

    England. Leading the way. The benchmark!

  • Comment number 19.

    All in all it was a friendly so I would have liked England to give it a bit more as the result does not really matter and I would agree with BBC pundits that not a lot was gleamed from the game.
    I think a great deal was gleamed!

    Namely how an England team must play against Spain to beat them. As it stands they will have to play better than last night if and when they play Spain again next summer,but if England can play the same way, but have more of a counter attacking threat than they had last night, they could beat Spain.

  • Comment number 20.

    No Rooney and England played as a team.

    The stats show that England have a better win ratio without him in the side.

    When will Capello and most of the pundits realise he is not essential to the team.

    For all his brilliance can England afford to accommodate the hot headed Rooney, who has not the the discipline to play where his position dictates, and therfore upsets the balance of the side. I also remember his woeful performances in the last World Cup, and in Man Utd's Champions League Finals, which suggests he is a player that "goes missing" on the big stage.

    As Sir Alf Ramsey once said "I don't pick the best eleven players, I pick the best team"

  • Comment number 21.

    As a spaniard living in london i can tell you that spanish players do not play with the same intensity (especially attacking intensity) in a friendly - this is the first game in a 2 game friendly series with a flight to costa rica the same night from heathrow !! the spanish football federation are happy collecting friendly fees as world champions, but the players and the manager do not treat these matches seriously, especially with a clasico less than a month away...none of those guys want to pick up injuries in these games and play accordingly with the handbrake on. Another factor is that most teams tire badly against spanish teams, especially in the 2nd a friendly where up to 6 or 7 substitutions can be made, the effect is nullified much more. I am convinced that in a competitive match, with a maximum of 3 subs, and with a park the bus mentality which england displayed tonight - spain would break england down, create more chances than they did tonight and take them. England had much more to play for tonight - pride, playing at wembley in front of a home crowd with players who were trying to impress and work for a euro squad place...having watched the game again, england scored with their only realistic chance in 90 minutes and for most periods in the match, could not get out of their own half....a team offering so little in a constructive, attacking sense cannot possibly win euro 2012 and if a team does win a tournament playing football with that type of philosophy (aka Greece in euro 2004), its a tragedy for the game and in my opinion, time to turn the lights off and go home...Spain and Germany are my favourites for euro 2012 and rightly so, time will tell if i am proved correct.

  • Comment number 22.

    England put so much emphasis on 'friendlies', I'd like to see them beat Spain, Germany, Italy, Brazil etc. when it really matters - at the World Cup. In no way did Spain play the game beyond 2nd gear - they have more important games in La Liga coming up. Meanwhile England can rejoice in winning another 'friendly'

  • Comment number 23.

    Another poor blog Phil....The media are setting their dials to Euro 2012 Favourites settings and we are meant to go along with what you guys say. England were very POOR the goal covers up lack of technical and tactical knowledge all over the pitch. Hart a great GK is a poor footballer just hoofing the ball up the field, Defence were strong but did not play the ball out well enough, midfield were solid but lacked that Gerrard to drive the team up the field. Walcott, Downing and Johnson were very poor Milner marginally better. Bent should not go to the Euro´s no tactical nouse...Overall a good result from a poor performance by an A/B team but I am still not a proud englishman just a Spanish admirer.

  • Comment number 24.

    Well done England. I wonder if this will be acknowledged by certain 'experts' on here who seem to think that Spain will win every game 30-0, and in the case of England 40-0 because we're so 'rubbish'.

    Hopefully this gives the team some confidence that can be built upon for the next game and alleviate some of the disgraceful England-bashing engaged in by a lot of England 'fans' and our national press.

    Encouraging signs, after all, no matter how its dressed up that was a 1-0 win against the full-strength world champions and the players deserve a lot of credit.

  • Comment number 25.

    Organised. Disciplined. Passionate. Tactically excellent.

    Yes, this was the England we all wanted to see in South Africa.

    With Gerrard and Wilshere in midfield England will be far better on the break and keeping the ball, so there are very encouraging signs.

    Oh, and lets all have a really good LOL at certain regulars here :o)))

  • Comment number 26.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 27.

    A good performance but definitely not 'sensational' as someone from the BBC said yesterday (do me a favour!). A win against Sweden now and we should all be reasonably happy.
    I think that most people would consider a semi-final appearance as a success in the summer. Anything less and it will be a case of same old same old. As usual there is no middle ground. Just no more performances like the one against Algeria please.

    Also, let's hope the tabloids don't get too desperate to sell their drivel. I see some of them are already at it.

  • Comment number 28.


    I think I know who you're talking about!... I wonder if Soul Patch will drag himself on here today? I doubt it somehow!

  • Comment number 29.

    @18 What are you on about England setting which standards are those again?

    Do you remember the standard of England at the last WC, or the standard of Rooney's behavour against Montenegro.

    Nothing wrong with being patriotic and proud but have some sense, its Fans like yourself that build up England every tournament adding to the ridiculous over-hype already permietting this Blog.

    Spains style is not boring and the hoof the ball up blood and snotters style of the EPL is atrocious and will never see England win anything if they continue that way.

    USA/Algeria anyone not to mention Germany last time out.

    If England are a benchmark, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, France, Portugal amongst others dont have much to fear in 2012.

    England did well last night but its madness to get carried away with a friendly at home and a one nil win where Spain dominated and hit the post.

    Good luck in Euro 2012 but your a fool to read too much into last night.

    Sweden will be a better indicator.

  • Comment number 30.

    Phil says: 'When and where it truly matters, in serious competition, England cannot even dream of being their equals, let alone betters.'

    pedrobarca says: 'Another poor blog Phil....The media are setting their dials to Euro 2012 Favourites settings and we are meant to go along with what you guys say.'

    It astounds me the number of people who comment about a blog without having actually read it.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ #21

    Those two teams are my favourites, too, but I think Germany will destroy Spain.

  • Comment number 32.


    lol, yeah. I can hear all his excuses already. But you never know, with a little luck he won't get over the shame of all the BS he has come out with and never return :o)

  • Comment number 33.

    For Italy in the 80's see England last night. The game proved one thing. It's the foreign players that make the premier league what it is. Losing 5 friendlies in a year or whatever it is but not lose a competitive match in for god knows how longs tells the whole story. I just hope people realise what it is they saw last night and not hale the result as some sort of false dawn.

  • Comment number 34.

    Lucky win that will register as a fluke before long. We come up against them in the tournament at some stage someone wrote? Lets get thru the groupstage first!

    Capello has been a continuation of same old same old managers with half the team made up from a bunch of has-beens (i.e. our stand-in captain) that never even got close to winning anything.

    Need more proof?

    Beckasaurus has put himself on radar for team GB in 2012. Why has no one told him otherwise yet?

  • Comment number 35.

    England beat the world cup winners by NOT playing Prem league football. If there's nothing to be learned from that, god help us .
    Great performance last night. The only weak link I saw was Glen Johnson. Even the ponderous Lampard played with the required discipline.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    Something that seems obvious from last night is that Spain have problems in defence.

    Ramos in particular looks old and slow, which is why he had to resort to hauling down the England front line whenever he was outstripped.

    I thought the ref had a poor game in that respect - he blew up whenever Spain went down like dying swans but failed to send Ramos off for two bookable fouls.

  • Comment number 38.


    i agree with everything you said,but the spain team is not as good as barcalona,and in general dont score that many goals.messi is the king at barca and the goal the world cup they scored the least goals in history for a winning team,at the euros they werent flush either

    but england NEED wiltshere,his talent is far superior than any other england player,he passes the ball as well(at the same level but in englands case) as xavi,iniesta and busquets,he counter brilliantly,a fierce competitor and only 19,after the arsenal barca match at the emirates last year,messi,xavi and iniesta ran over to him to offer his shirt,messi and xavi got there first.if that isnt the biggest compliment i dont know what is

    i was gutted for bent he should of got the goal anmd now lampard got it,he will be in the team for the foreseable,unfortunatly

  • Comment number 39.

    Many thanks for all your early replies. Good to see England supporters being so measured and realistic.

    And pedrobarca - I am afraid I have to assume you haven't even read the blog to make those comments about the English media. I have not met one member of the media or fan who is getting carried away by the win.

    So, England fans, let me have your thoughts on Rodwell, Welbeck, Jones and the rest of England's young brigade.

    And what about the performances of Jagielka and Lescott?

    How significant was it that England were able to win without Terry, Gerrard, Rooney - and with Jack Wilshere injured?

    You know how it works. The floor is yours to discuss any aspect of England and Spain. Fire away.

  • Comment number 40.

    It should also be noted that Argentina (inspired by Barca's incomparable Leo Messi) beat Spain 4-1 in a meaningless friendly, and Portugal (inspired by sensational Real Madrid man, Cristiano Ronaldo) beat Spain 4-0 in another meaningless friendly.

    Spain are clearly not that bothered about meaningless friendlies, as they have no relevance to them.

    Another factor was the tea-time kick-off. That was pretty low to organise a game at a time when the Spaniards might normally be taking a siesta.

  • Comment number 41.

    Phil, love the tone of this blog and I hope the spirit of it continues into the Euro 2012 build up. We must know our place as outsiders for the title but if the team pull together and get the right support from the English public then they can win any one-off game and maybe even string a run of results together. It's been done by the Greek team and it can be done again so the time has come to forget our team's deficiencies and get right behind them.

    It must be remembered that a 1-0 win over Spain does not imply England are now strong favorites vs any other side. England will still have 3 tough games in their Euro 2012 group.

  • Comment number 42.

    36. At 09:32 13th Nov 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    Pint of bitter it is then!

    God knows your reaction had it been a competitive

  • Comment number 43.

    37. At 09:33 13th Nov 2011, dogeared wrote:

    Ramos in particular looks old and slow

    Oh, stop it!

    If you think that 25-year-old Sergio Ramos looks ''old and slow'', then what must you make of over-the-hill plodders like Cashley, Lumpard, Terry and Rio ''Mr. Forgetful'' Ferdinand?

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.



  • Comment number 46.

    You cannot be serious about the siesta thing?! Priceless!

    Why on earth would they be having a nap on a cold day in November in England?!

  • Comment number 47.

    How significant was it that England were able to win without Terry, Gerrard, Rooney - and with Jack Wilshere injured?
    Its significant because one would hope with Rooney and Wilshere we would still be able to play the same way but have a much greater attacking threat than last night.

    Without a doubt both Terry and Rio would be better at distributing the ball out of defense and that would have given England more possession, but would they have defended as well as Lescott and Jagielka? That is the question for Capello.

  • Comment number 48.

    The time is nigh for John Terry to be replaced.. He is more trouble than he is worth in my humble opinion.

    The subject of Rooney is difficult because he brings so much but then I feel he prevents the rest of the team from stepping up as they, the media and seemingly the rest of England pin the hopes on the shoulders of this young man, which leads to, well to put it bluntly, failure. He definitely has a role to play I just hope Capello and his successor put more emphasis on the team and not star players.

    With Wilshere playing in the middle we have style and real class going forward.. Hopefully he can produce the goods where Lampard and Gerrard have failed time and time again.

    Its definitely time to play with the youngsters and so called fringe players of the past such as Parker.

    In my opinion there are much better options that would offer more than just a big name and big salary than the likes of Barry, Lampard, Ferdinand, Gerrard and Terry.

    Where the hell is Micah Richards? Potential to be one of the best in the world. Needs to be playing regular England football along with the amazing Daniel Sturridge who is a great goalscorer.

  • Comment number 49.


    What to do next???

    I ask the above question coz watching last night's game it was clear how the Spain side were quick and accurate with their movements with the ball. Notable to see England were often erratic and slow and far too often lost possession even when under no immediate threat.

    Our school sports-coach often repeated to us the above question whether it was rugby or football.
    "...dont stand there like a dummy, think, think, of what to do next.." even before you receive the ball.

    Its basic enough. Look to see which of your wingers or strikers is left unmarked; and when you receive the ball, with one swift movement pass the ball straight to him. BANG !!... and ball is in the net.

    Flair doesn't come into it, its just plain common sense. No WAGS either !!

  • Comment number 50.

    47. At 09:45 13th Nov 2011, Roman Philosopher wrote:

    Its significant because one would hope with Rooney and Wilshere we would still be able to play the same way but have a much greater attacking threat than last night.

    What are you talking about? Bent is ten times the player that Rooney will ever be, and Spain's exiguous defence stifled any potential threat which Darren offered.

    Rooney is mediocre. Only United fans rate him.

  • Comment number 51.

    England won. Well done.

    Beat Spain. Brilliant.

    But it's a dismal sight to see an England team spending 80 minutes in their own half with 10 men behind the ball.

    It was, after all, a friendly.

    Whatever happened to the concept of entertainment?

  • Comment number 52.


    You are on fire this morning mate. A good clown normally charges a lot for his time, so it means a lot to us that you are prepared to do it for free. On a Sunday too.

  • Comment number 53.

    49. At 09:47 13th Nov 2011, matt-stone wrote:

    No WAGS either !!

    They should definitely allow WAGS. How else are the England players going to ''score'' during a major tournament?

  • Comment number 54.

    What can be learnt? Well the fact that with a little luck and things going right that England can challenge any team in a one off game. As ive said before nobody can tell me that Holland are way ahead of England yet they reached the World Cup final.

    Whether England could win a tournament is doubtfull but with a little luck a penalty shoot out win here and there reaching the final stages should not be beyond them. Of course there are 4 or 5 other Countries in Europe who can also claim this, the trick is to get it to gell at a tournament.

    @40 Spain are not bothered with friendlies? When they fell behind they worked as hard as they possibly could to get back in the game, there simply not used to losing and approach most games in the same way. For the 3 defeats you mention there's probably 50 wins to go alongside them.

  • Comment number 55.

    Didn't stifle Bent's threat when he headed against the post for Lampard's goal, did he?

    Strange to see Bent wasn't on the Ballon D'or short list (voted for by sports writers across Europe) if he's 10x the player Rooney is.

  • Comment number 56.

    A good demonstration of how to no be embarrassed against a superior team. One of the best England performances I've seen without the ball. The key was how once they decided that they were in a good defensive position, the ball-carrier and all his easy options were pressed simultaneously. If the mistake was made, great, if not we re-grouped quickly.

    We only got this wrong once all game and Spain should have been level.

    With the ball, we have work to do. Far too many wasted possessions against a side who like to play possession football. I also didnt see anyone who could seriously have the Spaniards worried about their ability to run at a defense.

    All in all though better than I expected. No, we're not going to win a tournament soon, but on that performance, nor will we have the diabacle we had in South Africa.

  • Comment number 57.

    52. At 09:50 13th Nov 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    ''Clown''?! More like ''voice of reason in an oversized kennel of Basset Hounds''!

    I'm not usually on here on a Sunday morning. I'd normally be watching a match between ''The Red Lion'' and ''The Jolly Angler'' at the local park - keeping an eye on any players who Liverpool may be willing to fork out £35m for.

  • Comment number 58.

    England are not better than Spain, we all know that and for once were not getting carried away, You could argue that Spain should have been down to 10 men in a competitive match for that two footed challenge, even though he did get the ball but hay that’s football.

    The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa you need to chill mate, Spain are still the best in the world.

    I just liked the professionalism of the performance, thought it made a nice change. And thank goodness Villa was having an off day!

  • Comment number 59.

    Can everyone please stop feeding this Soul Patch person?

    He clearly gets his kicks from getting people to respond to his nonsensical posts.

    England won despite the Spanish Team not having slept during the day, or Belgian referrees that had a political grudge.

    Now can we discuss the game without biting back at Soul Patch?

  • Comment number 60.

    55. At 09:56 13th Nov 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    Didn't stifle Bent's threat when he headed against the post for Lampard's goal, did he?

    Strange to see Bent wasn't on the Ballon D'or short list (voted for by sports writers across Europe) if he's 10x the player Rooney is.

    Well, if James Milner hadn't have been auditioning for Swan Lake, then that free-kick would never have occurred.

    Regardless, it was a good header from Bent. Darren's a class act, and one of only a handful of English players who are better than either pub-standard or mediocre trundlers...cough...Scholes...cough.

    Those sports writers must have a pub standard knowledge of football if they put Rooney in the short-list. Any enlightened aficionados of the beautiful game - such as myself - see Wayne for what he is: a mediocre pro who can't cut it against any semblance of decent opposition. He only looks vaguely ''good'' when he's playing against the pub teams which make up about half of the EPL.

  • Comment number 61.


    I actually agree with one tiny part of your statements; there was one occasion that Spain were flagged for offside when the player (I can't remember which one) wasn't offside, and there were a few very, very tight decisions. But you simply do the following things.

    1) Look at the replay, and you will see just how close these decisions were
    2) Watch a few league matches and you will see tight decisions going one way or another, and mistakes being made as well
    3) Admit that the referees and assistants are only human and do make mistakes
    4) Grow up

    Just a very quick question...are there any highlights of the match being shown? I spend a fair ammount of last night studying so I missed quite a lot of the match. Cheers guys.

    Oh, one last thing Soul_Patch. The Siesta argument holds about as much water as a colander

  • Comment number 62.


    Voice of reason? So far you've cooked up a story about biased Belgian officials and also cited the fact that the Spanish players should have been allowed some nap time. I just kind of assumed you were clowning... Please don't tell me you were being serious?!...

  • Comment number 63.


    Agree, we shouldn't feed the troll. I'm loving his pain however :o)

    Especially as this was the strongest most sizzling team Spain could put out.

  • Comment number 64.

    Soul_Patch, I've read a fair few of these blogs, I only comment when I'm insanely bored, and you dear fellow bore the hell out of me. EPL, pub standard teams? Yeah right. Why is it that the EPL attracts more fans on TV than any other league in the world? Because it's a high standard of football, whereas the Spanish league is about as entertaining as watching grass grow. And Paul Scholes, a mediocre trundler? Either you only ever watch him play once when he had an off da, or you're bitter. Even Sepp Blatter, a man who really has no time for football, as said that Paul Scholes was the finest midfileder of his generation, and Zinidine Zidane said the same thing as well. The least you could do is admit that Scholes was a hell of a player too.

  • Comment number 65.

    Can't see how anyone can blame the officials, it was generally a clean game without any contraversy, the TV replays showed Lampard was onside when the ball was played. Having said that Ramos might have been given red by some refs with that two footed tackle and he was very lucky not to be booked for a blatent body check on Woolcott.

    What England showed was how Spain can be beaten which will give heart to all at the Euro Champs. It seemed Spain became a real threat only when they played less possession ( which they do of course very well) and played at a higher tempo but that of course opened up the game more for England, they are also clearly limited in the air at free kicks and corners.

    For England the most encouraging thing is the emergence of new talent and the fading of the old guard i.e. the "golden era" which has dissapointed us so much. We need younger , hungry players with whom we can build a strong team spirit , something that has so obviously been lacking for a decade or more. Greece showed how a "Team" can win a major tournament not just a collection of talented individuals and that offers Engalnds best hope for next summer.

  • Comment number 66.

    36. At 09:32 13th Nov 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    For someone who usually makes objective comments (albeit tinted by your agenda), you are completely off the mark today, a little bitter perhaps?

    Milner dive: He went down no softer than Busquets does after a gust of wind.

    Lampard offside: Please, this was clearly shown in a replay that Pique was playing him on, you're not even trying now.

    In a competitive mach Ramos would have seen two yellows, and perhaps Fabregas for an elbow in the back (did he have previous with Lescott?).

    Maybe you should concentrate on why Spain could only manage two shots on target out of 21 shots, most pub teams I've seen have a better average than that.

  • Comment number 67.

    58. At 09:58 13th Nov 2011, Squall4a wrote:

    You could argue that Spain should have been down to 10 men in a competitive match for that two footed challenge

    Ramos was in complete control of his movement, and he got the ball with his studs facing down.

    It was a foul - possibly a yellow card offence - but nothing more. It was one of the very few decisions that the officials from the former Spanish Netherlands got correct.

    Why are the English calling for a red card for Ramos' non-red card challenge, yet they were unanimous is thinking that Rodwell shouldn't have been sent off for a similar challenge in the Merseyside derby?

    Anyone would think that the English public were, like faithful Basset Hounds, just unquestioningly lapping up the drivel which emanates from TV pundits. Perish the thought(!)

  • Comment number 68.

    Phil with regards to opinions on both teams.

    England : looked better as a team fighting for each other than they have for a while, the result flattered the team who were playing a far better side who played well within themselves. In all honesty England with its youth now forcing its way through should be looking for a rescpectable Euro 2012 and building for WC 2014 (this of course will be with a new manager and he mat have different ideas)

    Spain : This team although off form last night by their standards are without doubt the best equipped National side in the World their squad is very, very strong and their attitude towards the way the game should be played is excellent.
    Their defense has in my opinion their only small weakness and is not that pacey, but they are capable of moving up gears when they need too. Germany will be their biggest chance of defeat at 2012. Of course any team can be beaten over 90mins but they are still the benchmark for the rest.

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    @29 micklauren

    I assume you read all of my post?!

    I said all of that and you pick up on my very last line.
    I was referring to England keeping a clean sheet against the current world and euro champs whilst beating them fair and square even though Spain should have had Ramos and Fabregas sent off.
    Fabregas on Jagielka was bordering on ABH!

    Also, how can Spanish/anti-English fans use 'Spain only saw it as a friendly' as an accuse? So what? England also saw it as a friendly?
    What point posters are trying to make I do not know.

    AND, all without Rio, JT, Gerrard, Witshire and Rooney.

  • Comment number 71.

    @Zeemo what a load of garbage. Spain have been found out now? I guess the fact they have won every single qualification game was a fluke? Spain have recently lost friendlies 4-1 (against Argentina) and 4-0 (against Portugal). They clearly don't treat the friendly matches seriously.

    I thought Spain were flat and never really got out of first gear throughout the match. I wouldn't read too much into it. England didn't really impress me at all.

  • Comment number 72.

    'Why are the English calling for a red card for Ramos' non-red card challenge, yet they were unanimous is thinking that Rodwell shouldn't have been sent off for a similar challenge in the Merseyside derby?'

    I said you could argue, that’s not calling, thought you liked the more intellectual arguments,

    England won, Spain lost. Spain are still better, just out of interest what have the Spanish media made of it? I assume you look at it?

  • Comment number 73.

    The optimism shown by England fans is laughable. Scott parker brilliant? Anyone, or anything for that matter, could've done a similar job. With the match being played virtually in one penalty area all one had to do was to be a barrier to goal and hoof the ball upfield to noone in particular. I get the sense this guy is becoming the new, sentimentally overhyped England hero who will be ruthlessly exposed when it matters. It's perfectly understandable for Spain not to score; when you have 20 players in one box you are always going to struggle to get a clear shot, and your only hope under those circumstances is an own goal or deflected goal, and that doesn't happen everyday.

    How a team that had 10% possession ended winning is a traversity. Cappello should be embarrassed for treating this game as a final. Instead of trying different things to see how his side will measure up against the big sides he chose to go one dimensional and park the proverbial bus. I guess the success starved English fans will not see the missed opportunities of learning a thing or two about their team that they will go on crowing about this 'victory'. It's not a victory, it was a lucky fluke of embarrassing margins; great champions have lost in these kinds of circumstances before, eg, lennox lewis losing a world title fight to hasim rahman from a single punch in a fight he'd dominated 99% of the time comes to mind. Or Audley Harrison trying to win against David by throwing one punch, luckily for England, that one punch landed. This is not the making of this England side, far from it, serious questions still need to be answered. Joe hart didn't have to do anything because each time he was called upon he was saved by the post, a Spanish player missed the target, or he was saved by a dubious offside call.
    The performance was embarrassing to say the least.

  • Comment number 74.

    66. At 10:08 13th Nov 2011, Parsey wrote:

    Busquets doesn't dive. He - like all sensible and professional footballers - goes to ground when he's been fouled. Refs will not award a free-kick or penalty unless you go to ground.

    Milner, on the other hand, wasn't fouled, yet he collapsed like a sack of spuds.

    Lampard was blatantly offside for England's ''goal''. Where you watching TV replays with your England glasses on?

  • Comment number 75.

    AND, all without Rio, JT, Gerrard, Witshire and Rooney.

    In my honest opinion Zeemo, I do think that England are better off without TJ and Rio. They were world class once, but they're a little past their best now. Still damn good players and I woldn't turn my nose up at them for a moment, but I personally think that England are better off with 2 of Jagielka, Lescott and Gary Cahill.

  • Comment number 76.

    72. At 10:15 13th Nov 2011, Squall4a wrote:

    I haven't looked at the Spanish media, but I'm assuming - quite rightly - they'll be focusing on how the Belgian officials turned a comfortable Spain win into an England ''win''.

  • Comment number 77.

    As an unashamed Stoke City fan, I think now is surely the time for Capello to start selecting our players for the national team. Especially captain Ryan Shawcross. Stoke have been playing these tactics against technically superior opposition since before they were even in the Premier League under Pulis and look how they have overachieved. Shawcross is an outstanding young defender and would bring much neeeded experience to the England camp having played as an underdog for 4 seasons now. This result shows that it is high time the national team and its supposed "stars" learned to do the same.

  • Comment number 78.

    And the suggestions Spain were flat and never got out of first gear(yet still commanded 90% of the possession) tells you how poor England were. It's criminal.

  • Comment number 79.

    Hay ho this is getting a little old now,

    So anyone got any thoughts how England will play Tuesday?

  • Comment number 80.

    73. At 10:15 13th Nov 2011, GunnarShumba wrote:

    The optimism shown by England fans is laughable. Scott parker brilliant? Anyone, or anything for that matter, could've done a similar job. With the match being played virtually in one penalty area all one had to do was to be a barrier to goal and hoof the ball upfield to noone in particular.

    It was embarrassing.

    England's game-plan was exactly the same as that of San Marino or Liechtenstein. Stick 10 men behind the ball, and hope to snatch a goal at a set-piece during a rare foray into the opposition's half.

    At least teams from tiny countries like San Marino and Liechtenstein have a valid reason for playing in this manner, but England don't.

    So, regardless of the dodgy officiating which led to England's ''win'', the English fans are celebrating winning a game the ''San Marino way''. Truly pathetic!

  • Comment number 81.

    It's not getting carried away, but you would have to be an absolute plum not to see that England did not need the "old guard" to win against the best team in the world.
    Terry, Lampard, Gerrard, Ferdinand are surplus to requirements.
    As for this comment, Phil ..
    "My own view was that a meeting with the World Cup winners was made for Wayne Rooney, and once captain John Terry was selected it made little sense to leave him out of a game carrying such prestige."
    ....where do you see Rooney playing in that game ? He was totally unsuited to the style. He would most certainly have become frustrated and would have been booked. Red or yellow, who knows.
    Maybe Fabio was getting a little justified revenge on John Terry for his World Cup mutiny. I wouldn't blame him. Terry & Ferdinand are nowhere near the England team these days. Jag and Lescott proved it beyond doubt last night. Lescott, has been in great form for City all year. No surprise there.

  • Comment number 82.

    Good display of humility all round. From the English side, we have the acknowledgment that we shouldn't get carried away by a one-off victory in a friendly against a technically much better side.

    From the Spanish (David Villa's eye patch) we have the acceptance that Sergio Ramos is youing but slow and that Spain have been beaten by a side marginally better than Liechtenstein.

    It's also nice to know that, while we're still hung up on World War II and tin helmets, the Spanish are still harping on about the 17th century and the Treaty of Breda.

  • Comment number 83.

    First off, I'm a Scot but generally used to like watching England play - up till about 2004 when I generally believe you had some world class players.

    Got to be honest, I think England's problems aren't really with discipline it's with creativity. Capello last night set out his team to defend - and that was about it. Fair play to him, the gameplan worked but I'm not sure he's learned much other than England, when playing this set up, can soak up a decent amount of pressure.

    Like another poster - this reminded me our our Euro 2008 qualifying campaign when we beat France home and away in performances very similar to England's last night. Difference was that the result meant something. From a neutral perspective, I was disappointed in England because as a result of their negative tactics, the game was incredibly poor to watch until England scored.

    I really don't think Capello is the right man for the job - he's too interested in keeping the public happy. Yes you won, but like so many greats have said - you learn by getting beat. I'd have like to have seen England go out and try to get at Spain last night - I believe had you done that you probably would've got beaten but at the moment all Capello hasn't learned how you would cope if you need to go at a world class side - unless he's banking on scoring from 1 or 2 shots.... which seems incredibly negative.

    Spain are the best in the world, no doubt about it but Capello bottled it last night. We played Spain last month away and lost 3-1 but we created 5\6 really good chances in a competitive game. England have better raw materials than Scotland, were at home with nothing to play for and should've been able to compete - I though that was disappointing from Capello. Fair play to the team for following out the task at hand though.

  • Comment number 84.

    Bitter truth is England are probably better off without Rooney and Terry. We have Sturridge who has potential to be far better than Rooney and who this season has already played much better than the Manchester United talisman.

    There is no doubting the talent of both Rooney and JT, but in football the collective is better than the individual - a principle too difficult for British intelligence to grasp.

    Barcelona got rid of Ibrahimovic for that same reason.

  • Comment number 85.

    No. 7 Georgieboy 1968 - yes you are biased to the point of being sickeningly partisan. Why is it people have to turn an England blog into a homage to Ferguson and his boys. Jones and Wellbeck are so cocky and arrogant it's painful. Mind you Adam Johnson could do with a huge dose of humility. Last night only told us that Rooney (yes Rooney) Lampard and especially Cole are still needed at the moment.

  • Comment number 86.

    England beat Spain the only way you can beat Spain, no problems there. The test is whether they can now go out against Sweden and play a completely different game, which is what will be needed come the finals. Against Spain you have to play on the counter but while England managed the defensive side very well they were poor on the break. Hopefully Gerrard and Wilshire would allow the midfield to hold and pass the ball better. However the real killer ball against Spain is the pass out wide followed by a 50-60 yd charge down the line and I'm not sure any of our wide player are really up to it. Its a pity Gareth Bale isn't English. There seem to be a lot of people on this site who assume the side with most possession should automatically win, football isn't like that. Italian teams in the 60' and 70's routinely won games with very little of the ball. Arsenal in recent years have routinely lost games while enjoying the bulk of possesion.

  • Comment number 87.

    At the risk of being labelled a pedant, Birkdale is not "the more affluent area of Rodwell's birth". Very few people are born in Birkdale, which is basically just a Southport suburb these days, due to its lack of a hospital (though you can't rule out the odd home birth). Rodwell was more than likely born in Southport & Formby District General, which, if we referencing specific suburbs, is actually in Kew.

    Birkdale is actually "the more affluent area of Rodwell's upbringing."

    I did say I was a pedant.

  • Comment number 88.

    84. At 10:34 13th Nov 2011, Dazz wrote:

    There is no doubting the talent of both Rooney and JT, but in football the collective is better than the individual - a principle too difficult for British intelligence to grasp.

    I agree. I'm not an England fan, but it seems abundantly clear to me that England should ditch over-the-hill plodders like Terry, Cole, Lampard, Ferdinand, Gerrard and Rooney.

    They should persevere with promising youngsters like Rodwell, and form the nucleus of their side from established top quality pros like Young, Bent and Barry.

  • Comment number 89.

    What have we learned fro yesterday's match?

    Spain do not have Messi as they might assume that they do. As a result, their transition from possesion to goal chance is next to zero. Villa is having a bad run of form for both club and country now. Also, Iniesta is no Messi. Sorry all you Inmiesta fans out there in England. Messi is 10 times the player that Iniesta is. If Messi played last night, he would have transitioned 5 or 6 midfield balls to goal chances, and probably scored one himself.

    English players do dive. Milner clearly dived to win the free kick that led to England's goal. Had it been a Spain player that dived and the match ended 1-0 to Spain, we all know what would fill the back pages of the English papers this morning.

    If England accept their limitations and their place in the footballing heirarchy as a catentaccio team, they might win a major tournament in my lifetime.

  • Comment number 90.

    @71 Spain do lose the odd game whether it be a friendly or not it happens to all football teams even the best, now for them 2 or 3 defeats how many wins and unbeaten games?

    Spain didn't take it seriously the Ramos and Fabregas tackles alone seemed to be serious, Spain having something like 90% of possesion shows me they were looking to open England up at every opportunity and Spain having many players who play in England who would not want to go back to there clubs after a defeat to some of there teammates plus its a game at Wembley with its history and prestige, all valid reasons why Spain did not want to lose last night.

    There may not have been anything riding on the game but surely players like Lescott, Jageilka, Parker and some of the young lads being around a squad that has defeated the best team in the world can only be a confidence booster.

    Obviously England need lots of work in keeping the ball but thats the first time in a long time England have looked tight at the back with only Johnsons header to the feet of Villa were he hit the post being any kind of mistake. Johnson i should point out had a good game giving that defending is not seen as his strongest suit.

  • Comment number 91.

    England will be demolished by a really classy Swedish side on Tuesday evening.

    Expect to see Sweden coast to victory - spearheaded by talismanic ex-Barca pro, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

  • Comment number 92.


    I've no problems with pedantry as I could bore for England myself. This is why I'm happy to go off at a complete tangent with you.

    But what is the point of the pedantry? Do Everton fans not chant that? Or do they chant it for some other reason? Is the point that his parents lived inBirkdale when he was born but he was actually delivered in a hospital somewhere else?

    That really would be major pedantry. Kudos!

  • Comment number 93.

    look sharp

    its looks like england won the world cup whilst i was sleeping dam and i missed it :)

    Morning Patch :) have no fear you as well as many others know when it comes to the real deal england will once again be shown as a laughing stock on the world stage.

  • Comment number 94.

    oh come on it was only a friendly match, nothing to be excited over, spain played with mix of bench players and first team players, and spain did not play with the same intensity of a important match, but the class, the technical ability, depth and keeping the ball when under pressure, england are slowly dying down, who from england team would get into spain's team apart from rooney and a.cole rodwell missed an easy chance, this win is called an lucky win, but it shows sticking to a game plan works out sometime.

    the standard of the england team are awful, im being honest here i think i'm better than half the players in the england team, glen johnson is so awful but guess why his playing because he plays for a big four club. did not rate parker winning the pfa footballer of the year, but last night he showed why he belongs there, and give propls to lescott.

    we need more players with flair, technical ability and should start playing at a young age, wilshere is class

  • Comment number 95.

    match stats:

    shots at goal : England 3 Spain 21
    possession: England 29% Spain 71%
    corners: England 1 Spain 6

    of course the most important stat is goals but this match reminds me of playing football manager sometimes :/

  • Comment number 96.

    93. At 10:44 13th Nov 2011, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:

    Morning Patch :) have no fear you as well as many others know when it comes to the real deal england will once again be shown as a laughing stock on the world stage.

    Good morning, Charade. It's nice to see that another aficionado of the beautiful game has entered the fray. Most of the contributors wouldn't know what position to hold, unless Jamie Redknapp or Andy ''Irishman'' Townsend told them what to think. ;)

  • Comment number 97.

    No one gave England a prayer yesterday, yet here we are and they found a way to win against the mighty Spain. As I suggested on a blog here yesterday, Spain can be got at and are vulnerable to ariel crosses into their penalty area. There back four was terrified of Walcott's pace, Ramos would have been dismissed in a tournament match for persistent fouling of the Arsenal flyer. That's before we even get to the scandalous two footed lunge in the second half...

    Overall I saw exactly what I wanted to see from England last night. An organised performance full of passion, pride and a desire to play for each other and the shirt. The exact opposite to the world cup embarrassment. Lescott was a warrior, I lost count of the number of interceptions he made, he read the game perfectly.

    This isn't a watershed moment for England, nor is it a disaster for Spain. What it does do is vastly improve the morale in the England squad. Spain were never unbeatable and England have proved they can stick to a plan for 90 minutes, something they failed to do in South Africa.

    People will harp on about the fact Spain had 80% of the possession and England were just lucky. Utter nonsense. For all their possession, the Spaniards created TWO clear chances in 93 minutes. Hardly a stunning return for the best international team ever is it? England's defence was terrific. Spain played much in front of England, but barely cut them open at all.

    The reality is Spain do this to everyone else in the world as well. They dominate the ball and it usually pays dividends for them, but not always. The great irony of last night is that for years, people have wanted England to have a 'plan B', yet it's Spain that can only play one style. When that doesn't work, they cannot change and be more direct, it isn't in their make-up.

    This was an England team shorn of the collective talents of Rooney, Gerrard, Wilshere and Young. England certainly would have retained the ball more if that quartet had been playing. There are a thousand different ways to win a football match, England showed it can be done with industry, organisation and desire. It wasn't pretty but there are no rules to prevent it. Results are king in football, history never remembers possession statistics.....

    England are not going to win Euro 2012 and there is a strong chance that Spain will. Last night restored some pride in the three lions and perhaps illuminated the reality that Spain are not invincible. England can now look forward instead of backwards, they will be much stronger in the finals and if the pride and passion is replicated from last night, they'll be no complaints. The fact is you don't have to play Spain every week. England cannot play the 'Spanish way' but it doesn't matter. There are many different ways to skin a cat!

  • Comment number 98.

    Joleon Lescott - absolutely magnificent yesterday along with his ex Everton partner Phil Jagielka. Lescott quietly goes about his business without the benefit of the media hype of Terry or Ferdinand but massively better than the pair of them put together.

    Lescott has had to win over Mancini in much the same way that Adam Johnson will have to but he did. Doesn't remotely get the praise he deserves

    Big contributor to why Man City are top of the Prem

  • Comment number 99.

    @soul patch

    Hmm... You predicted Spain would batter England though... And Spain got merked!! Haha! Gutted!

    Since you're predicting a Sweden win, I guess I'll go and bet on England right now, such is your adeptness at making predictions!

    Clueless!! :-D

  • Comment number 100.

    Agree with above..lescott (who I've given my fair share of criticism to) was excellent! Absolutely solid all game...jags too to be fair...oh well the slow overrated England captain will be back soon....deep joy


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