The Independent London Newspaper
23rd April 2019

Spain draw 'feels like a defeat' as England let two-goal lead slip

    Wembley

    Goals from Adam Lallana and Jamie Vardy gave England an unlikely 2-0 lead at Wembley last night, before Spain hit back to secure a draw

    Published: 16 November, 2016
    by PAUL COWLING at Wembley 

    International Friendly
    ENGLAND 2, SPAIN 2

    IT’S hard to say what was the bigger surprise: England taking a 2-0 lead against a strong Spain side, or the fact that, for large parts, they actually played well.

    In the end, England were denied victory as the Wembley visitors scored twice at the death to earn a draw.

    “It feels like a defeat,” admitted Gareth Southgate after his final match in charge as interim coach of the national side.

    It’s almost certain Southgate will be offered the job full-time, and he has a job on his hands to turn England from a side that merely qualifies for tournaments with ease, to one that can actually do well when they get there.

    He admitted as much after the game. 

    “We have an exciting group of players, but we have a long way to go before we can be considered a top team,” he said.

    England made the perfect start, with Adam Lallana converting a penalty on nine minutes after Jamie Vardy had been upended by Spain goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

    The graceful Lallana looked set to be a key influence on the game until he went off injured on 27 minutes following a heavy challenge by Spain midfielder Thiago. 

    England continued to press after the restart, and were rewarded when Jamie Vardy doubled the lead with a low bullet header from Jordan Henderson’s cross in the 48th minute. 

    The celebrations were to be muted, however, as England contrived to blow their two-goal cushion, with former Liverpool flop Iago Aspas curling home a fine goal in the 89th minute, before Isco levelled matters six minutes into injury time.

    “The players couldn’t have given any more,” added Southgate. 

    “We pressed high, and tried to be positive without the ball, but against a top side like Spain we became fatigued and ended up having to try and hang on.”

    ENGLAND: Hart (Heaton, 45), Clyne, Cahill (Jagielka, 45), Stones, Rose (Cresswell, 79), Henderson, Lallana (Walcott, 27), Sterling (Townsend, 65), Lingard, Vardy (Rashford, 67)
    Attendance: 83,716  

     

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