England succumbed to their first home defeat in over two years after they were 2-1 by Spain in their Nations League opener. The Three Lions started as the better side on the night with Marcus Rashford netting within the 11th minute but they were quickly pegged by with Saul Niguez and Rodrigo Moreno handing a 2-1 advantage for La Roja at the interval.
The Three Lions had the better opportunities to find the scoresheet during the second period but unfortunately some poor finishing from Marcus Rashford and a controversial referee decision right at the close meant that they could not share the spoils at the Wembley Stadium.
Three things we learned:
Marcus Rashford’s finishing: Marcus Rashford has largely featured on the flanks during his time at Old Trafford but on Saturday, the Englishman got a rare opportunity to start upfront alongside Harry Kane. Rashford took the first chance that came by to open the scoresheet but he was thereafter wasteful with his finishing after failing to convert a couple of clear-cut opportunities past David de Gea. This trend has also been witnessed when featuring for Jose Mourinho’s side and this is something he may want to improve on to cement a regular starting berth in the long-run.
De Gea makes his redemption with Spain: The shot-stopper came for plenty of criticism from the La Roja faithful at the World Cup after he was guilty of gifting a goal during the 3-3 draw against Portugal. The Spaniard thereafter bemoaned the lack of support from the country’s supporters towards him but he would have certainly won over some of them after being dominant between the sticks against the Three Lions. De Gea made two key saves against Rashford on Saturday but the first one was the highlight after he managed to intercept from point-blank range following a strong header from his Manchester United teammate.
England unlucky in Wembley defeat: England may have come second-best during the Spain encounter but they could have quite shared the spoils, had their injury-time goal not been chalked off. Towards the end of the game, Danny Welbeck managed to pounce on De Gea’s poor handling to score a dramatic equaliser but his celebrations were muted thereafter with the referee deeming him to have fouled De Gea. Watching the replay, it appears that it was De Gea, who dropped the ball into Welbeck’s path and the result could have been quite different, had VAR been in place for the Nations League game.
Image – Getty