England stun Spain and throw Nations League group wide open

Sergio Ramos and David De Gea despondent after Raheem Sterling's second goal.
Sergio Ramos and David De Gea despondent after Raheem Sterling's second goal. / AFP
  • A double from Raheem Sterling and a Marcus Rashford strike put the visitors 3-0 in Seville up at half time

A win would have eased Spain through to the next phase of the inaugural UEFA Nations League, but England had other ideas on Monday night as Gareth Southgate's side picked up a shock 3-2 win at the Estadio Benito Villamarín in Seville.

Spain's new-look defence, with Wolves' Jonny at right-back and Chelsea's Marcos Alonso on the opposite flank, struggled to cope with the pace of Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford in the channels as Harry Kane dropped deep to orchestrate play.

In fact, as Sergio Busquets pushed upfield to press Jordan Pickford in the 16th minute, the Everton keeper's long ball found Kane in the space vacated by the Barcelona anchorman. Kane set Rashford away down the left as Sterling peeled away on the far side, picked out with an inch-perfect pass before firing into the roof of the net.

England's second came 15 minutes later via the same route. Pickford's long kick was held up by Kane who then cleverly released Rashford in behind to finish past his Manchester United colleague David De Gea.

Kane's superb half was rounded off when he laid on the third goal in the 37th minute. England, again recycling play well, won the ball back in Spain's half through Eric Dier. Ross Barkley's chipped pass then found Kane at the back stick who stretched to poke the ball across the face of goal for an unmarked Sterling to score a tap-in.

Shellshocked, Spain coach Luis Enrique changed things up early in the second half, bringing on Paco Alcácer and Daniel Ceballos within ten minutes of the restart. The former made an instant impact, taking advantage of some slack goalkeeping from Pickford who needlessly fumbled the ball out for a corner. It was dutily dispatched by the Dortmund striker with a near-post header - his first touch of the ball and, incredibly, his tenth goal for club and country this season from just ten shots on target.

Pickford had another hairy moment shortly after when his loose control was seized upon by Rodrigo Moreno. The keeper, however, recovered to slide the ball out for a corner, though the Spain players were appealing for a penalty.

Southgate responded to the increase in pressure by reverting to the back five he used at the World Cup, bringing on Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold to the swell the ranks.

This worked well until deep into stoppage time when Sergio Ramos headed home Ceballos' cross, a second before the referee blew up for full time.

England's victory, the first competitive defeat for Spain on home soil in fifteen years (0-1 against Greece in Euro 2004 qualifying), leaves the group wide open with Luis Enrique's side now requiring a win in Zagreb on 15 November to guarantee their progression. Anything less would see England progress as group winners with a win against the Croats at Wembley three days later.