UEFA Nations League - Group A4
England1Spain2

England 1-2 Spain: Hosts lose Nations League opener at Wembley

Rodrigo scores the winner for Spain at Wembley
Rodrigo took advantage of a static England defence to side-foot in the winner from a free-kick

England's Nations League campaign opened with defeat as they were beaten by Spain in their first match since the World Cup.

Marcus Rashford gave England the perfect start with an 11th-minute strike from Luke Shaw's pass but Spain responded with an almost instant equaliser thanks to Saul Niguez's low finish.

Rodrigo Moreno then took advantage of poor marking at a free-kick to score the winner from close range after 32 minutes.

England suffered a blow just after half-time when Shaw was taken off on a stretcher with a head injury following an accidental collision with Dani Carvajal but they rallied late on and could have earned a draw.

David de Gea, who saved brilliantly from Rashford's header in the first half, denied his Manchester United colleague once more and England were furious Dutch referee Danny Makkelie ruled out an injury-time finish from substitute Danny Welbeck after Spain's keeper tumbled under pressure from the striker.

England were left to ponder their first competitive defeat at Wembley since they lost a Euro 2008 qualifier to Croatia in November 2007, a run stretching back 24 games - and also Gareth Southgate's first home defeat as manager.

England back down to earth

Marcus Rashford scores for England
All four of Marcus Rashford's goals for England have come in home games that he has started (0 goals in 16 substitute appearances) - two at Wembley, one at the Stadium of Light and one at Elland Road

The World Cup semi-finalists' night started with optimism and warm memories of Russia, as captain Harry Kane received his Golden Boot for being the tournament's leading scorer from manager Southgate.

And Wembley's buoyant mood was increased with a superb opening goal after 11 minutes as Rashford swept home a perfect pass from Shaw.

Spain were in no mood to sit back as guests at England's party and once Niguez equalised they moved up a level and kept the hosts at arm's length for long spells.

England roused themselves in the last 15 minutes when Rashford should have equalised and Welbeck had that goal controversially ruled out, but this was a subdued night for long spells with Spain looking the sharper and more technically gifted side in their periods of superiority.

Southgate is well aware that the relative success at the World Cup cannot disguise that England still have to bridge the gap between themselves and the world's elite countries and this was a match that proved his point.

England showed great spirit and resilience to mount that late charge and they will feel a sense of injustice - but they are still struggling to get a statement result after this League A Group 4 defeat.

Mixed night for Shaw

Luke Shaw receives treatment at Wembley
Luke Shaw's previous England appearance before Saturday came against Germany in 2017

Shaw's renaissance at Manchester United was rewarded with his first England appearance since the friendly defeat against Germany in Dortmund in March 2017.

It was a deserved reward and a big opportunity for the 23-year-old with the place on England's left-flank opening up after Ashley Young's demotion.

Shaw, however, had a night of mixed fortunes and also suffered the ill luck of injury once more when he was taken off on a stretcher early in the second half after a knock to the head in a collision with Carvajal.

He showed his ambition and attacking quality with a superb, curved pass into Rashford's path for England's goal but was then guilty of diving in too soon in the build up to Saul's leveller.

The good news was that, after he was taken away wearing an oxygen mask and a neck brace, he was treated by doctors at Wembley rather than being taken straight to hospital.

Everyone will hope for a swift recovery for the talented defender as he starts to revive his career after it was stalled by injury and a once difficult relationship with United manager Jose Mourinho.

Spain show instant improvement under Enrique

Luis Enrique
Luis Enrique is formerly the manager of Barcelona

Spain are entering a period of rebuilding under new coach Luis Enrique after the chaos of the World Cup when Fernando Hierro stepped in to cover for Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked on the eve of the tournament after he had agreed to take over at Real Madrid.

And on first evidence, former Barcelona coach Enrique is getting his message across as Spain looked to have far more pace, purpose and direction than they did during a laboured World Cup, when they became bogged down in a mire of pointless passing.

The new era also leans heavily on two established members of the old guard, with keeper De Gea making vital contributions and captain Sergio Ramos marshalling his defence brilliantly.

Ramos was supremely indifferent to some rather farcical booing from the England fans, which seemed a strange leftover from the incident in the Champions League final which saw Mohamed Salah injured in a challenge with the Real Madrid captain.

This was certainly something to build on for Spain and Enrique.

Three successive defeats for first time in 30 years - the stats you need to know

  • England suffered their first defeat at Wembley under Gareth Southgate (W6 D4 L1), while the only two games that they've conceded more than once in during this run have both been against Spain (also 2-2 in November 2016).
  • This was England's third consecutive defeat in all competitions - they last lost three in a row in June 1988, with all three losses coming at that year's European Championships.
  • None of the last nine managers of Spain have lost their first game in charge (W7 D2), with Luis Suarez the last man to do so in 1988 (2-1 v Yugoslavia).
  • England have conceded six goals in their past three games in all competitions, as many as they had in their previous 13 games combined (three).
  • There were just 120 seconds between England opening the scoring through Marcus Rashford, and Saul Niguez equalising with his first goal for Spain.

What next?

England take a break from the Nations League, taking on Switzerland in a friendly at Leicester's King Power Stadium on Tuesday (20:00 BST).

Spain play their second game of the new competition, hosting World Cup runners-up Croatia on the same day.

Line-ups

England

  • 1Pickford
  • 4Gomez
  • 5StonesBooked at 66mins
  • 6Maguire
  • 8HendersonBooked at 18minsSubstituted forDierat 64'minutes
  • 2Trippier
  • 7Lingard
  • 11Alli
  • 3ShawBooked at 41minsSubstituted forRoseat 53'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 10RashfordSubstituted forWelbeckat 90+4'minutes
  • 9Kane

Substitutes

  • 12Walker
  • 13Butland
  • 14Alexander-Arnold
  • 15Rose
  • 16Tarkowski
  • 17Dier
  • 18Loftus-Cheek
  • 19Delph
  • 20Welbeck
  • 21McCarthy
  • 22Bettinelli

Spain

  • 1De Gea
  • 2CarvajalBooked at 83mins
  • 4Nacho
  • 15Ramos
  • 12AlonsoSubstituted forMartínezat 87'minutes
  • 10Thiago AlcántaraSubstituted forRobertoat 80'minutes
  • 5Busquets
  • 8Saúl
  • 9Rodrigo
  • 17Iago AspasSubstituted forAsensioat 68'minutes
  • 22Isco

Substitutes

  • 3Albiol
  • 6Martínez
  • 7Morata
  • 11Fernández Saez
  • 13Arrizabalaga
  • 14Azpilicueta
  • 16Hernández
  • 18Gayá
  • 19Roberto
  • 20Asensio
  • 21Ceballos
  • 23López
Referee:
Danny Makkelie
Attendance:
81,392

Match Stats

Home TeamEnglandAway TeamSpain
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home11
Away11
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home4
Away1
Fouls
Home15
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, England 1, Spain 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, England 1, Spain 2.

Attempt missed. Danny Welbeck (England) with an attempt from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Joseph Gomez.

Attempt saved. Harry Maguire (England) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kieran Trippier with a cross.

Corner, England. Conceded by Sergio Ramos.

David De Gea (Spain) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Danny Welbeck (England).

Saúl Ñíguez (Spain) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jesse Lingard (England).

Daniel Carvajal (Spain) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Dele Alli (England).

Substitution

Substitution, England. Danny Welbeck replaces Marcus Rashford.

Booking

Danny Rose (England) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Daniel Carvajal (Spain) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Danny Rose (England).

Attempt missed. Rodrigo Moreno (Spain) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Marco Asensio.

Attempt missed. Sergio Ramos (Spain) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Isco with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Spain. Conceded by Kieran Trippier.

Isco (Spain) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jesse Lingard (England).

Substitution

Substitution, Spain. Íñigo Martínez replaces Marcos Alonso.

Attempt missed. Harry Maguire (England) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Kieran Trippier with a cross following a corner.

Corner, England. Conceded by Nacho.

Offside, England. Jesse Lingard tries a through ball, but Marcus Rashford is caught offside.

Booking

Daniel Carvajal (Spain) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Daniel Carvajal (Spain).

Jesse Lingard (England) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Harry Kane (England) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt saved. Marcus Rashford (England) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Harry Kane.

Substitution

Substitution, Spain. Sergi Roberto replaces Thiago Alcántara.

Attempt blocked. Marcus Rashford (England) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kieran Trippier.

Foul by Daniel Carvajal (Spain).

Danny Rose (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Spain. Marco Asensio replaces Iago Aspas.

Saúl Ñíguez (Spain) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Kieran Trippier (England).

Attempt blocked. Isco (Spain) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

John Stones (England) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Rodrigo Moreno (Spain) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by John Stones (England).

goal

Rate the England players

Player of the match

SaúlSaúl Ñíguez

with an average of 6.36

England

  1. Squad number10Player nameRashford
    Average rating

    6.24

  2. Squad number3Player nameShaw
    Average rating

    5.92

  3. Squad number5Player nameStones
    Average rating

    5.72

  4. Squad number1Player namePickford
    Average rating

    5.36

  5. Squad number4Player nameGomez
    Average rating

    5.34

  6. Squad number20Player nameWelbeck
    Average rating

    5.24

  7. Squad number7Player nameLingard
    Average rating

    5.18

  8. Squad number2Player nameTrippier
    Average rating

    5.15

  9. Squad number6Player nameMaguire
    Average rating

    5.08

  10. Squad number15Player nameRose
    Average rating

    4.89

  11. Squad number8Player nameHenderson
    Average rating

    4.51

  12. Squad number17Player nameDier
    Average rating

    4.38

  13. Squad number11Player nameAlli
    Average rating

    4.30

  14. Squad number9Player nameKane
    Average rating

    4.28

Spain

  1. Squad number8Player nameSaúl
    Average rating

    6.36

  2. Squad number22Player nameIsco
    Average rating

    6.29

  3. Squad number1Player nameDe Gea
    Average rating

    6.27

  4. Squad number9Player nameRodrigo
    Average rating

    6.23

  5. Squad number12Player nameAlonso
    Average rating

    5.81

  6. Squad number10Player nameThiago Alcántara
    Average rating

    5.80

  7. Squad number5Player nameBusquets
    Average rating

    5.63

  8. Squad number2Player nameCarvajal
    Average rating

    5.58

  9. Squad number17Player nameIago Aspas
    Average rating

    5.56

  10. Squad number20Player nameAsensio
    Average rating

    5.47

  11. Squad number4Player nameNacho
    Average rating

    5.44

  12. Squad number15Player nameRamos
    Average rating

    5.34

  13. Squad number19Player nameRoberto
    Average rating

    5.33

  14. Squad number6Player nameMartínez
    Average rating

    5.26

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 8th September 2018

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France10100001
2Germany10100001
3Netherlands00000000

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland11006063
2Belgium00000000
3Iceland100106-60

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland10101101
2Italy10101101
3Portugal00000000

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain11002113
2Croatia00000000
3England100112-10

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ukraine11002113
2Slovakia00000000
3Czech Rep100112-10

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Russia11002113
2Sweden00000000
3Turkey100112-10

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bos-Herze11002113
2Austria00000000
3Northern Ireland100112-10

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wales11004133
2Denmark00000000
3R. of Ireland100114-30

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Albania11001013
2Scotland00000000
3Israel100101-10

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Finland11001013
2Greece11001013
3Estonia100101-10
4Hungary100101-10

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norway11002023
2Bulgaria11002113
3Slovenia100112-10
4Cyprus100102-20

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia11001013
2Montenegro10100001
3Romania10100001
4Lithuania100101-10

M

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Georgia11002023
2Andorra10100001
3Latvia10100001
4Kazakhstan100102-20

N

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belarus11005053
2Luxembourg11004043
3Moldova100104-40
4San Marino100105-50

O

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Faroe Islands11003123
2Azerbaijan10100001
3Kosovo10100001
4Malta100113-20

P

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Macedonia11002023
2Armenia11002113
3Liechtenstein100112-10
4Gibraltar100102-20
View full UEFA Nations League tables

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