Sterling shines as England blow Spain away

Last Updated 16 October 2018, 11:37 IST

Raheem Sterling scored twice as England delivered one of their finest victories of the modern era by beating Spain 3-2 in Seville.

Away from home, and against a Spanish side in scintillating form under their new coach Luis Enrique, this was certainly England's best win under Gareth Southgate and, perhaps, their most impressive since thrashing Germany 5-1 in Munich in 2001.

Marcus Rashford was the other scorer in a breathless opening 45 minutes, which witnessed Spain conceding three on home soil for the first time in their history.

Paco Alcacer, on as a substitute, headed in before the hour to spark hopes of a comeback but England were home and dry by the time Sergio Ramos scored in the 98th minute, with the last action of the match on Monday.

It means England keep alive their hopes of finishing top of Group 4 in the UEFA Nations League, the position Spain had needed only a point to all-but-guarantee would be theirs.

Eric Dier set the tone early on. He left Sergio Busquets, sluggish throughout, hopping out of his first pass and then slid through Ramos, who was also out of sorts.

After a frantic start, England settled and in the 13th minute, scored. Under pressure at the back, they kept the ball until the risk was too great and Jordan Pickford drove forward to Harry Kane.

With Spain caught upfield, he was able to turn and find Rashford, whose quick switch set Sterling free. He finished into the top corner.

Kane showed the value of a top-class centre forward for England's second. He outmuscled Ramos to win Pickford's punt downfield, outpaced Nacho to the loose ball with a superb reverse pass in behind. Rashford only had to finish.

Spain's early confidence was gone and England added a third before the interval, which was greeted by whistles from the home fans.

Ross Barkley's sumptuous ball over the top caught Ramos napping again and Kane squared for Sterling to tap in.

Spain were sent out early for the second period, among them Alcacer, who replaced Saul. He scored with his first touch, heading in Marco Asensio's corner, given away after a fumble by Pickford.

It was a nightmare few minutes for England's goalkeeper, who then dallied and was tackled by Rodrigo.

Pickford scrambled the ball away but probably fouled Rodrigo in the process and Spain were adamant they deserved a penalty. The referee was not convinced.

England played for time, with a handful of players going down injured, and Spain's pressure gradually eased.

Marcos Alonso then deflected onto the bar deep into injury time and Ramos headed home in the 98th minute. But there was not even time for a restart. England's win was complete.

Switzerland win

Switzerland kept their Nations League semifinal hopes alive and sent Iceland down into the second tier with a 2-1 win in rainy Reykjavik in their League A Group Two match on Monday.

Switzerland have six points from three games, level with group leaders Belgium who have a game in hand. Iceland have lost all three games and will finish bottom of the section.

Dzeko shines

An Edin Dzeko brace handed Bosnia a 2-0 home win over Northern Ireland in an action-packed Nations League clash on Monday, which further consolidated their place on top of the second-tier's Group 3.

The result left the Bosnians on a maximum nine points from three games, ahead of Austria who have three points from two matches. Northern Ireland have none from three games.

Results: League A: Group 2: Iceland: 1 lt to Switzerland: 2; Group 4: Spain: 2 lt to England: 3.

League B: Group 3: Bosnia-Herzegovina: 2 bt Northern Ireland: 0;

League C: Group 2: Estonia: 3 drew with Hungary: 3; Finland: 2 bt Greece: 0.

League D: Group 2: Luxembourg: 3 bt San Marino: 0; Belarus: 0 drew with Moldova: 0

(Published 16 October 2018, 10:54 IST)

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