UEFA Nations League - Group A4
Spain2England3

Spain 2-3 England: Raheem Sterling goals inspire stunning victory

Raheem Sterling scores the opening goal for England against Spain
Raheem Sterling scored his first goals for England since October 2015 against Estonia - 1,102 days ago

England won in Spain for the first time in 31 years as they recorded a memorable Uefa Nations League victory in Seville on Monday.

Gareth Southgate's side were 3-0 up at half-time. Raheem Sterling ended his three-year, 27-game barren sequence with a thunderous early opener, before scoring his second from close range just before the break - his goals coming either side of a composed strike from Marcus Rashford.

Spain, torn apart by England's pace in that sensational opening period, responded in predictable fashion in a chaotic second half, with Paco Alcacer pulling a goal back just before the hour with a near-post header.

England lived on their nerves, particularly goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The Everton player's exceptional ability with the ball at his feet helped create the first two goals but he was also lucky to survive a penalty appeal when he seemed to bring down Rodrigo after attempting to be too clever in his own area.

Spain hit the woodwork and Sergio Ramos scored with the final act of the game in the 97th minute - but the visitors survived to secure a famous and deserved victory, their first here since a 4-2 win in 1987.

This was Spain's first loss at home in a competitive fixture for 15 years.

England's landmark moment?

Southgate, despite the comparative success of reaching the World Cup semi-finals, insisted his side could not rank themselves among the world's top teams until they started beating top teams.

The win against then World Cup holders Germany in March 2016 proved a false dawn and the question persisted as they lost twice to Belgium in Russia, to Croatia in the semi-final in Moscow and to Spain in the Nations League reverse fixture at Wembley in September.

Can this dramatic night in Seville be the landmark moment, the statement victory, that Southgate has been demanding?

Spain applied constant pressure until the 97th minute but the celebrations of players and supporters at the final whistle illustrated the magnitude of this England win.

The hosts were resurgent under Luis Enrique and had not lost at home in a competitive game since they were beaten by Greece in June 2003 - 5,609 days ago.

And yet, after surviving a torrid opening, England's pressing and pace tore Spain to pieces in the first half. The Spanish dominated possession but England had the potency and end product with those three goals.

Captain Harry Kane was the workhorse and creator, while Sterling and Rashford provided the finishing flourishes that put England in dreamland at the interval.

They had to dig deep and rode their luck through a succession of second-half scares - but that was inevitable against a side of Spain's quality. They also showed courage, resilience and a tireless work-rate.

This is a win that also eases those nerves about relegation from their Uefa Nations League group and puts them in a much more healthy position before their meeting with Croatia at Wembley.

Sterling out of the darkness

Sterling was not hiding away from cold reality when he addressed the media after Friday's goalless draw against Croatia behind closed doors in Rijeka - he simply had to start scoring for England.

As the action got under way in Seville, it was three years, 27 games and 1,810 minutes since he scored in the 2-0 win over Estonia at Wembley.

The pressure to deliver was mounting and it was perfectly natural that questions were being asked about how long this record could be sustained, but the Manchester City forward answered them in the most emphatic fashion possible after 15 minutes.

Pickford's superb pass started the move and when Rashford played Sterling through he fired unerringly and without hesitation high past David de Gea.

The shackles were off and the player whose club form is such a contrast to his international returns - he has scored 34 goals in 97 appearances for City in that same three-year period - was electrifying.

Sterling added his second to give England that 3-0 lead before half-time but he also gave a complete performance of pace and running, and was unlucky to be denied a penalty in the second half. He was a threat every time he had the ball.

Southgate has always felt the goal was coming for Sterling - now he will hope for further rewards.

Spain stunned by England's shock tactics

In his media briefing before this game, Spain coach Luis Enrique was asked whether he could believe how well his early days had gone after thrashing Croatia at home and Wales away - but the party came to an abrupt end in Seville.

The whistles at half-time were as much from disbelief as disappointment as a Spain side used to having it all their own way at home were being run ragged on their own turf.

England were devastating; Spain were stunned.

This country has been an impregnable football fortress in the modern generation and this was the end of a 38-game unbeaten run, and the first time in their history they had conceded three goals at home in a competitive match.

It was the first time they had conceded three goals at home in the first 45 minutes of an international since Scotland scored four in their 6-2 win at the Bernabeu in June 1963.

All these glorious statistics came tumbling down around Spain as England restored the feelgood factor that sustained them through the World Cup.

This was a memorable night and one of the finest in England's recent history.

Man of the match - Raheem Sterling (England)

Raheem Sterling celebrates after putting England 3-0 up against Spain
Raheem Sterling's pace and movement was rewarded as he scored two goals for England for the first time to inspire a famous victory

'They were outstanding' - what they said

England manager Gareth Southgate told Sky Sports: "The players should be incredibly proud of their performance. We spoke to the forward players before the game to remind them what a threat they are and they were outstanding, causing all sorts of problems.

"Then it was up to the rest of the team to be brave and we did that really well at times. We are encouraging them to take risks. The young players put on a mature performance and withstood pressure really well."

Spain coach Luis Enrique: "The first half was really poor, we have to recognise that. We committed a lot of individual errors. It's a tough defeat and we have to accept it."

Clinical England - the stats

  • This was England's first victory - and first goals - in an away match against Spain since February 1987, when Gary Lineker scored all four goals in a 4-2 victory.
  • Spain lost their first competitive home international since June 2003 against Greece, ending a run of 38 games without defeat.
  • This was the first time in their history Spain had conceded three or more goals in a competitive home international match.
  • England scored with all three of their shots on target in the opening 45 minutes - they did not have a single effort on goal in the second half.
  • Raheem Sterling's goal was his first for England since netting vs Estonia in October 2015 - ending a run of 1,825 minutes and 27 games without one.
  • Sterling scored twice in an England match for the first time, while it was also the first time Harry Kane had provided two assists in a match for the Three Lions.
  • Marcus Rashford has scored three goals in his past four appearances for England - as many as he had in his previous 25.
  • Harry Kane has been directly involved in 39% of the 44 goals England have scored under manager Gareth Southgate (14 goals, three assists).

What's next?

England face the USA in a friendly on 15 November (20:00 GMT) at Wembley, while Spain travel to Croatia in the Nations League on the same evening (19:45).

Line-ups

Spain

  • 1De Gea
  • 2Castro OttoBooked at 75mins
  • 4Nacho
  • 15RamosBooked at 64mins
  • 12Alonso
  • 10Thiago Alcántara
  • 5Busquets
  • 6SaúlSubstituted forAlcácerat 57'minutes
  • 17Iago AspasSubstituted forCeballosat 57'minutesBooked at 87mins
  • 19RodrigoSubstituted forMorataat 72'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 20Asensio

Substitutes

  • 3Albiol
  • 7Morata
  • 8Koke
  • 9Alcácer
  • 11Fernández Saez
  • 13Arrizabalaga
  • 14Azpilicueta
  • 16Rodri
  • 18Gayá
  • 21Bartra
  • 22Ceballos
  • 23López

England

  • 1Pickford
  • 2TrippierSubstituted forAlexander-Arnoldat 85'minutes
  • 5Gomez
  • 6MaguireBooked at 71mins
  • 3Chilwell
  • 8WinksBooked at 64minsSubstituted forChalobahat 90+1'minutes
  • 4DierBooked at 12mins
  • 7BarkleySubstituted forWalkerat 76'minutes
  • 10Sterling
  • 9Kane
  • 11Rashford

Substitutes

  • 12Walker
  • 13Butland
  • 14Alexander-Arnold
  • 15Dunk
  • 16Chalobah
  • 17Mount
  • 18Maddison
  • 19Sancho
  • 21Bettinelli
Referee:
Szymon Marciniak
Attendance:
50,355

Match Stats

Home TeamSpainAway TeamEngland
Possession
Home73%
Away27%
Shots
Home24
Away5
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home12
Away0
Fouls
Home14
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Spain 2, England 3.

Booking

Álvaro Morata (Spain) is shown the yellow card.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Spain 2, England 3.

Goal!

Goal! Spain 2, England 3. Sergio Ramos (Spain) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Dani Ceballos with a cross.

Corner, Spain. Conceded by Ben Chilwell.

Attempt missed. Paco Alcácer (Spain) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Marco Asensio with a cross.

Attempt missed. Sergio Ramos (Spain) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Thiago Alcántara with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Spain. Conceded by Joseph Gomez.

Substitution

Substitution, England. Nathaniel Chalobah replaces Harry Winks.

Foul by Álvaro Morata (Spain).

Raheem Sterling (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Dani Ceballos (Spain) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Dani Ceballos (Spain).

Marcus Rashford (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Paco Alcácer (Spain) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jonny.

Attempt missed. Álvaro Morata (Spain) with an attempt from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jonny with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, England. Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Kieran Trippier.

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

Foul by Eric Dier (England).

Attempt missed. Marco Asensio (Spain) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jonny.

Attempt missed. Thiago Alcántara (Spain) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Paco Alcácer.

Attempt saved. Paco Alcácer (Spain) right footed shot from long range on the left is saved in the top right corner.

Foul by Sergio Busquets (Spain).

Raheem Sterling (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Paco Alcácer (Spain) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, England. Kyle Walker replaces Ross Barkley.

Booking

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

Foul by Jonny (Spain).

Ben Chilwell (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, England. Joseph Gomez tries a through ball, but Marcus Rashford is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Spain. Álvaro Morata replaces Rodrigo Moreno.

Attempt missed. Marcos Alonso (Spain) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Booking

Harry Maguire (England) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Dani Ceballos (Spain) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Harry Maguire (England).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Harry Maguire (England) because of an injury.

Corner, Spain. Conceded by Marcus Rashford.

Corner, Spain. Conceded by Kieran Trippier.

Booking

Sergio Ramos (Spain) is shown the yellow card.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Monday 15th October 2018

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France21102114
2Netherlands21014223
3Germany201103-31

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland32019366
2Belgium22005146
3Iceland3003111-100

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Portugal22004226
2Italy31112204
3Poland301235-21

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain320110466
2England31114404
3Croatia201106-61

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ukraine22003126
2Czech Rep21013303
3Slovakia200213-20

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Russia32104137
2Turkey310246-23
3Sweden201123-11

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bos-Herze33005149
2Austria21011103
3Northern Ireland300315-40

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Denmark21102024
2Wales21014313
3R. of Ireland201114-31

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Israel32014226
2Scotland21013213
3Albania310214-33

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Finland440050512
2Greece420234-16
3Hungary411256-14
4Estonia401336-31

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bulgaria33005239
2Norway32013126
3Cyprus310235-23
4Slovenia300325-30

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia42205238
2Montenegro42116337
3Romania41304316
4Lithuania400429-70

M

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Georgia33006069
2Latvia302112-12
3Kazakhstan302124-22
4Andorra302114-32

N

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Luxembourg430110199
2Belarus42206068
3Moldova412124-25
4San Marino4004013-130

O

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Kosovo42206248
2Azerbaijan41305236
3Faroe Islands411247-34
4Malta402248-42

P

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1North Macedonia33008179
2Liechtenstein310246-23
3Armenia310224-23
4Gibraltar310214-33
View full UEFA Nations League tables

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