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Oct 15, 2018 at 7.45pm UK
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Live Commentary: Spain 2-3 England - as it happened

:Headline: Live Commentary: Spain 2-3 England - as it happened:
Relive England's famous 3-2 win over Spain as the Three Lions pull off a memorable victory in Seville courtesy of goals from Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford.
By , Editor | 11mo

England produced one of their most memorable away performances in recent years this evening as they beat Spain 3-2 in their UEFA Nations League clash in Seville.

The Three Lions stunned the Estadio Benito Villamarin with an astonishing first-half blitz which saw Raheem Sterling score twice, either side of a Marcus Rashford strike.

Spain could not respond until shortly before the hour mark when substitute Paco Alcacer made an immediate impact, but Sergio Ramos's header to reduce the deficit to one came too late for them to force a comeback.

Find out how all of the action unfolded on a remarkable night of international football courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.

Good evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's UEFA Nations League showdown between Spain and England in a very rainy Seville.

The downpour in the city today has led to some doubts over whether the match will even take place this evening, but as things stand we are still set for a 7.45pm kickoff in a match which could see Spain clinch top spot and England's hopes of progress ended once and for all.

We will get to all that a little later, but first let's check out the team news...

SPAIN STARTING XI: De Gea; Jonny, Ramos, Nacho, Alonso; Busquets, Thiago, Saul; Aspas, Rodrigo, Asensio
SPAIN SUBS: Bartra, Azpilicueta, Gaya, Morata, Albiol, Alcacer, Lopez, Suso, Koke, Ceballos, Kepa, Rodri
ENGLAND STARTING XI: Pickford; Trippier, Gomez, Maguire, Chilwell; Winks, Dier, Barkley; Sterling, Kane, Rashford
ENGLAND SUBS: Chalobah, Mount, Walker, Dunk, Maddison, Butland, Sancho, Alexander-Arnold, Bettinelli
What can we make of those two teams, then?

Well, we'll start with England and the first thing to note is that Gareth Southgate has once again gone with a four-man defence - a formation he utilised for the first time in a year for Friday's stalemate with Croatia.

It is a 4-3-3 system named by Southgate tonight, with just three changes from that draw with Croatia - two of which are enforced.

Jordan Henderson - the most-capped player in the squad - and John Stones are both sidelined through suspension, having picked up yellow cards against Croatia, and are replaced in the starting lineup by Harry Winks and Joe Gomez tonight.

There is also a change at right-back, with Kieran Trippier replacing Kyle Walker in the defence. The Man City man drops to the bench, which is inexperienced to say the least and contains as many as five uncapped players.

Maddison, Mount, Chalobah, Dunk and Bettinelli could all make their debuts from the bench tonight, with Jadon Sancho only made his debut against Croatia and Alexander-Arnold is also inexperienced at this level, so it could very much be the next generation of England players we are seeing on that bench.

The starting XI is not exactly laden with caps either, though, with Ben Chilwell making just his second England start and Winks winning only his second cap.

Eric Dier - with 35 caps - is actually the most experienced player in that England starting XI, closely followed by Spurs teammate Harry Kane, who is in growing need of a goal at international level despite just this summer winning the Golden Boot at the World Cup.

Kane has since gone six England games without a goal - his joint-longest drought at international level. Raheem Sterling is another who has been firing blanks for his country, although his drought stretches back significantly longer - to October 2015.

Indeed, Sterling has now gone 1,102 days and 27 games without an England goal, with just four of his 34 shots in that time even going on target.

As for Spain, they have made a couple of interesting selections for this match, including a full international debut for Wolverhampton Wanderers full-back Jonny Castro.

Jonny usually plays at left-back for Wolves, but he is right footed and will start on the right tonight, replacing Cesar Azpilicueta in the team. There is a Chelsea defender on the opposite flank, though, as Marcos Alonso comes in for Jose Gaya.

Just to drive home the strength of Spain's squad, they are able to welcome the likes of Sergio Busquets, Marco Asensio and Thiago Alcantara back into their starting lineup tonight, after the trio sat out Thursday's comfortable victory over Wales.

Asensio, incidentally, is the leading assist-maker in the Nations League so far, having notched four in the 6-0 rout of Croatia alone. Asensio was also on the scoresheet in that match, so he is one England will need to keep a particularly close eye on tonight.

Rodrigo Moreno - the match-winner in the reverse fixture at Wembley last month - comes back into the side in place of Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata, and interestingly there is also a spot for Iago Aspas, who replaces Paco Alcacer in the team.

Alcacer can rightly feel hard done by with that, having scored twice against Wales last time out and also made a blistering start to the season with Borussia Dortmund, leading the Bundesliga scoring charts. Indeed, Alcacer has scored nine goals in five matches for club and country this season, averaging a goal every 27 minutes.

At the back, captain Sergio Ramos will win his 160th cap for Spain, taking him to within seven of record-holder Iker Casillas and 12th on the all-time list in international football.

Busquets provides plenty more experience as he prepares for his 110th international appearance, and between them they have won 55 more caps than the entire England starting XI combined.

Spain certainly have the edge on experience, then, and they will be full of confidence heading into this match having seemingly put the World Cup debacle behind them under the stewardship of Luis Enrique.

Enrique boasts a 100% record at the helm so far, with three wins from three and 12 goals in that time - an average of four per game - re-establishing Spain as a force to be reckoned with on the international stage.

Of course, Spain have possessed enormous quality for well over a decade now, but they have struggled at major tournaments since Euro 2012 and their World Cup campaign was a complete mess.

That appeared to be as much to do with matters off the pitch as on it, though, with Spain sacking head coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament after it emerged that he had agreed to join Real Madrid after the World Cup.

Fernando Hierro was drafted in as an emergency replacement for La Roja, but ultimately their journey ended in the last 16.

Draws with Portugal and Morocco - in addition to a narrow win over Iran - were followed by a penalty shootout defeat to Russia, although despite such a disappointing campaign you still have to go back to Euro 2016 for the last time Spain were beaten in normal time.

It is now 27 matches since that loss in the last 16 of Euro 2016, since when they have won 18 and drawn nine of their outings after 90 minutes. Try telling any Spanish player that their penalty shootout exit to Russia doesn't count as a defeat, though.

Spain are very much looking forward under Luis Enrique now, though, and they have certainly made a promising start with those three wins and 12 goals.

A trip to Wembley last month was not the easiest start for Enrique in the Spain dugout, particularly after some time out from the game, but his side came from behind to win and then made a real statement by hammering World Cup runners-up Croatia 6-0 to take complete control of their Nations League group.

That result was Croatia's biggest ever defeat, and Spain were similarly dominant on Thursday night when they cruised to a 4-1 victory over Wales - a result which, if anything, flattered the hosts in Cardiff.

Spain were three goals to the good within half an hour and looked capable of racking up a cricket score, but they took their foot off the pedal a little without surrendering any control of the game, with Wales eventually clawing back a consolation right at the death.

Competitive action resumes tonight, and victory for Spain in Seville would wrap up qualification for next June's Nations League Finals with a game to spare.

Indeed, even a draw should be enough to effectively wrap up Spain's place in the next round, with Luis Enrique's side currently sitting five points clear of both Croatia and England, having beaten both of them last month.

Recent history suggests that they will pick up another three points tonight, though, having won 34 and lost none of their last 38 competitive outings on home soil - a run which stretches back 5,609 days to June 2003, when they were beaten by Greece.

In all competitions, Spain have won eight and lost none of their last 10 home games - averaged 4.2 goals per game in that time - and at this particular stadium they have won 12 of their 13 matches, although this is their first game at the home of Real Betis since 1995.

It is quite the task for England tonight, then, particularly for such an inexperienced team missing a number of first-team players and trying to adapt back to a 4-3-3 formation after a year of three in defence.

Even so, Gareth Southgate has repeatedly expressed his belief in this young group of players, and tonight will at the very least give them a chance to gain some much-needed international experience against some of the best football has to offer at the moment.

Only a win will do for the visitors tonight as far as their Nations League hopes are concerned. This is their penultimate game of the competition, which means that a draw would leave them still five points adrift of Spain with only one game to play.

Even victory leaves them with plenty of work still to do, as they would need to then beat Croatia next month and hope that Spain lose to the World Cup runners-up if they are to overhaul La Roja and reach the Finals.

Southgate's priority above progressing into the Finals will no doubt be seeing improvement from his side, and the first place to start is with their finishing having squandered a number of chances during Friday night's goalless draw with Croatia.

It was an eerie atmosphere in Rijeka as the match was played behind closed doors, and ordinarily an away draw at the World Cup runners-up would be considered a decent result. However, this was a Croatia team without the home crowd behind them and coming off the back of a 6-0 defeat to Spain in their last outing.

England certainly had the chances to win the game, with both Dier and Kane hitting the woodwork and Rashford failing to take advantage of two one-on-one situations which came his way in the goalless stalemate.

That result left Southgate's side with only one point from their opening two games of the tournament, having also lost at home to tonight's opponents last month - squandering a one-goal lead at Wembley.

England did bounce back from that Spain defeat by beating Switzerland 1-0 at the King Power Stadium - courtesy of Marcus Rashford's goal - but that is one of only two wins inside normal time from their last eight matches.

Indeed, the Three Lions are now winless in their last four competitive matches - losing three of those - and tonight could go five in a row for the first time since October 1992 under Graham Taylor.

It is not a record befitting of a team which raised so much optimism by making it to the semi-finals of the World Cup this summer, and of course reaching that stage and facing top-class opposition makes defeats - and therefore such runs - all the more likely.

However, England aspire to be amongst the best and these are the teams they will need to start beating if they are to reach that level.

England do come into this match boasting a decent away record in recent times, having failed to even concede a goal on the road since June 2017 - an unbeaten run of four matches.

Should they pick up a draw or a win tonight then it would be their longest away unbeaten streak for more than three years, although Southgate has already admitted in the buildup to this match that his players are "lacking psychological freshness" given the short break before the end of the World Cup and the start of the Premier League.

PREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes from kickoff at the Benito Villamarin, which means that it is time for a prediction!

Spain are a team in really good form right now and it is certainly hard to see them losing this game. They have the superior quality on the field and the home advantage too, so it is going to have to be a Spain win tonight.

SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Spain 2-0 England

Spain have dominated the recent meetings between these two sides, winning five and losing just one of the last seven and, looking even further back, being beaten just three times in the last 13.

England's most recent victory over La Roja came in November 2011, when Spain were still world champions, as Frank Lampard scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win at Wembley.

The Three Lions do, however, edged the overall head-to-head record with 13 wins to Spain's 10.

England's most recent win away to Spain came in February 1987 under Bobby Robson, and it was a particularly memorable occasion for Gary Lineker as he scored all four goals in a 4-2 triumph.

However, Lineker remains the last England player to score in an away international against Spain, with the Three Lions drawing blanks in each of their four visits since.

Incidentally, the last England goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in an away game against Spain was Peter Shilton in May 1980, when England won 2-0.

The most recent meeting came just last month, of course, when Saul Niguez and Rodrigo Moreno both scored as Spain came from behind to cancel out Rashford's early opener at Wembley.

England's last visit to Spain, meanwhile, saw them beaten 2-0 in November 2015 courtesy of goals from Mario and Santi Cazorla.

Right, fortunately the game has beaten the weather, and the players are on their way out for the anthems now. A quick reminder of the team news before we do get started...

SPAIN STARTING XI: De Gea; Jonny, Ramos, Nacho, Alonso; Busquets, Thiago, Saul; Aspas, Rodrigo, Asensio

ENGLAND STARTING XI: Pickford; Trippier, Gomez, Maguire, Chilwell; Winks, Dier, Barkley; Sterling, Kane, Rashford

KICKOFF:  Here we go, then! Spain get us underway in Seville!
A couple of nervy moments for England early on as both Gomez and Maguire almost give the ball away in dangerous areas. Both get away with it, but Spain's forwards will have been encouraged there.
Spain make their first break in behind the defence as Jonny is slipped in down the right channel, but Trippier gets across to cut out his attempted square ball, which would have found Asensio completely unmarked.
CHANCE!  Big chance for Spain early on as they catch England out with a set piece. The corner is played low to the front post and then knocked back to Thiago on the edge, but his first-time effort deflects narrowly wide. That was far too easy for Spain!
CHANCE!  Spain come close again from a second corner as Ramos darts to the front post and flicks the ball on for Alonso at the back post. He hooks the ball towards goal, but it rebounds off Pickford in unorthodox fashion. The danger is not quite clear and Spain continue to knock on the door, but England finally are able to scramble it away.
That was a very strange piece of goalkeeping from Pickford, who dived for the initial flick on despite it going a long way wide of the post. Alonso's hook back actually hit the keeper while he was on the floor, and the deflection could have gone anywhere.
SAVE!  Asensio bursts into life, collecting a loose ball off the toes of Trippier and darting forward. His eventual shot is a toepoke, though, and it lacks the power to really trouble Pickford.
YELLOW CARD!  Dier goes flying into a challenge on Ramos inside the Spain area, when it looked as though Ramos had just overrun it. It is a harsh one for the England man, though, as it looked to be a brilliantly-timed tackle.
Busquets flicks the ball into the path of Saul, who in turn tries to thread it through for Rodrigo, but the pair are not on the same wavelength.
England have the chance to launch a quick break from a counter-attack, but Kane puts too much on his pass through to Chilwell and De Gea is able to come out and mop up.
GOAL!  England break the deadlock, and Raheem Sterling breaks his long international duck!

It is a brilliant finish from the Man City forward too, as he picks out the top corner in emphatic style - similar to Michael Owen's finish against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup.

It comes at the end of a sweeping England break too, with Rashford playing the final ball into the path of Sterling, who was clear of the defence and made absolutely no mistake with his finish!

SHOT!  Spain look for an immediate response as Asensio cuts inside from the left flank, but his eventual effort is high and wide of the target when he had better options in the middle.
England fans are having fun with their chants after that goal - classics such as "We are staying up!" and "We're gonna win the league!" ring out from the away section.
Confirmation of the end of that long, long drought for Sterling. What a way to do it as well.

SAVE!  Pickford is called into action here as Thiago whips a free kick in towards the near post, where Rodrigo gets in front of his man. He misses his attempted flick, though, and Pickford makes the save to prevent the free kick from going straight in.
Winks catches Saul in possession and tries to play Sterling through, but it is cut out and Spain immediately launch a break. Aspas sees his low cross blocked by Chilwell, though.
Thiago has showcased some lovely flicks and tricks so far tonight, and it is he who looks most like making something happen for the hosts here.
GOAL!  Out of nothing, England have a second and suddenly they have complete control of this match!

A long ball forward is picked up by Kane, who threads a lovely pass in behind the defence for Rashford. The United man takes a touch before firing his finish past his clubmate De Gea to send the away fans wild!

This would be an incredible result for England - a reminder that Spain have not lost a competitive home match since 2003. They have a mountain to climb to keep that record intact now.
A second goal has since arrived, but here is the pinpoint strike from Sterling which gave England the lead tonight...

Asensio tries to feed a low ball into the box for Rodrigo, who has once again made the dart to the front post. He cannot get enough on his flick, though, and it goes behind for a goal kick.
Another long ball forward almost releases Rashford, but this time he is just unable to bring the ball down. England look capable of getting another here, though.
GOAL!  This is incredible! England have a third in the first half against Spain and have surely done enough to wrap up a remarkable victory already now!

Spain just cannot get out as England win every second ball in quick succession, eventually allowing Barkley to float a ball over for Kane. Kane turns the ball back into the middle where Sterling is unmarked to sweep it home.

Terrible defending from Spain, but another lovely move from England.

I can't quite believe what I am seeing here. England are 3-0 up away to Spain inside the opening 40 minutes, and look dangerous almost every time they come forward at the moment. Incredible.
Spain win a free kick in a good shooting position, but Asensio's effort hits the top of the wall.
SHOT!  Alonso tries his luck from a round 25 yards out, but he drags it well wide of the target and whistles start to come from the home fans.
A couple of stats from this remarkable first half...

Wow. An astonishing first half comes to an end at the Estadio Benito Villamarin and it is England who are in complete control of this match following a stunning first-half display.

The visitors lead 3-0 at the halfway stage having cut Spain open at times, and it would take a remarkable comeback and collapse for Spain to drag themselves back into this match.

Spain actually made the brighter start to the match, but England broke the deadlock after 16 minutes as Sterling ended his long international goal drought in emphatic fashion.

The front three were all involved as Kane collected a pass from Pickford before playing it out for Rashford, who in turn threaded a pinpoint pass through for Sterling. The Man City man raced through on goal and then picked out the top corner with a sensational finish.

The brilliant Harry Kane was again involved for the second goal 13 minutes later, collecting a long ball forward before slicing the defence open with a lovely pass forward.

Rashford's first touch in the area was perfect, and he then had the composure to apply the finish as he joined Sterling in scoring his first ever away goal for his country.

Sterling then doubled his personal tally to really put England in dreamland - and perhaps take the game beyond the reach of Spain.

Spain could not get out of their own third in the buildup to the goal and Barkley lofted a lovely pass into the box for Kane, who was again unselfish to knock it back across goal for Sterling to apply the simple finish.

KICKOFF:  England get us back underway for the second half, and all the noise right now is coming from those away fans.
An early scare for Spain in the first half too as Rashford darts inside and almost latches on to a loose pass, but De Gea is there to mop up.
SHOT!  This would have been some way to drag Spain back into the match! Saul collects a loose ball on the edge of the area and takes a touch before volleying it without the ball hitting the ground. He catches it well enough, but it goes flying over the crossbar.
CLOSE!  Spain are pushing for a goal back in these opening exchanges, and some inside the stadium think that they have it here. Asensio collects the ball with his back to goal inside the area and shoots on the turn, but Gomez makes a vital block to send it into the side-netting.
This match is so finely poised now, even with the one-sided nature of the score. Spain are perhaps the one team where a 3-0 lead does not feel completely safe, but as they commit more men forward the space will be there for England to hit them on the break once again.
Thiago and then Aspas have the chance to play the ball in behind the defence, but both get it wrong and Pickford gathers on both occasions. England fans are now giving their team the 'Ole!' treatment.
England want a free kick right on the edge of the area as Sterling goes down after appearing to be caught. The referee says no, but on first glance it looked like a foul.
SAVE!  Spain play on with Sterling still down at the other end, but Saul's strike is comfortably gathered by Pickford.
SPAIN SUBS: A double change for the hosts now as Paco Alcacer and Dani Ceballos replace Aspas and Saul.
GOAL!  Alcacer makes an immediate impact from the bench, scoring with his first touch less than a minute after coming on!

It is poor defending from England as they leave him completely unmarked at the back post, but there is still plenty to do. Alcacer does it well, though, flicking his header into the far corner.

That goal has cranked up the volume inside the stadium - these fans still believe that they can come back from this! A nervy final 30 minutes awaits England now!
Stoppage in play here as Ramos goes clattering into Kane, who needs treatment on the pitch - much to the chagrin of the home crowd. Both are fine to continue.
PENALTY APPEAL!  Oh my word, what is Jordan Pickford up to here?! Spain cannot believe that they have not been awarded a penalty here, and they have a good point!

Pickford tries to be too clever on the ball and is caught in possession by Rodrigo, before tugging him back in the area and sliding in to make a goal-saving tackle. The final challenge is actually good, but the initial tug back should have been punished and England have got away with one in a huge way there.

The jitters are setting in for England now. Spain win a corner and it hits the head of Rashford, looping narrowly wide of his own target. It is a frantic game right now!
YELLOW CARD!  There was at least one yellow card brandished after that Spain penalty shout, and Ramos has certainly gone into the book. Others may have had their names taken too.
Another stoppage in play as this time Maguire needs treatment. England are trying to slow this game down, but the home fans are keeping the noise levels right up!
YELLOW CARD!  Maguire is the latest name in the book for a strong challenge on Ceballos. Maguire got the ball once again, but it was the follow-through which was punished this time.
SHOT!  Alonso lines up the resulting free kick, but he cannot keep his effort down as it flies over the crossbar.
SPAIN SUB: A third and final change for Spain sees Alvaro Morata replace Rodrigo.
YELLOW CARD!  Jonny goes into the book for a late foul on Chilwell. Another harsh one from the ref.
ENGLAND SUB: England make their first change of the night as Kyle Walker replaces Barkley.
Half a chance for Spain as Jonny's cross is only cleared as far as Alcacer, but he slices his effort wildly and it goes nowhere near the target.
Southgate might take as much from this second half display as he did from the first if his side hold out here. They have been under heavy pressure, with the crowd very much behind the hosts, but they are so far holding out.
England cannot get out at the moment, and Pickford is called into action here to collect Alcacer's overhit cross, which was goalbound.
SHOT!  Spain knock the ball about outside the England box as they keep relentless pressure on, but it eventually comes to an end as Thiago drills a shot wide of the target.
CLOSE!  Asensio spins on the ball well and unleashes a snap shot which has Pickford worried, but the ball skims narrowly past the post.
ENGLAND SUB: Another change for England sees Trent Alexander-Arnold replace Trippier.
The ball bounces around the England area as Spain continue to probe for a route back into this match. First a cross is too high for Morata and then Ceballos sees his shot hit his own man.
YELLOW CARD!  Really good from Rashford as he collects the ball and carries it out, beating Ceballos before being brought down by Nacho, who goes into the book.
SAVE!  Another nervy moment for Pickford as Asensio's drive across goal is parried away by the England keeper, straight at Morata. The Chelsea striker cannot react in time, though and it bounces off his knees and behind for a goal kick.
ENGLAND SUB: A third and final change for England, and it is a memorable moment for Nathaniel Chalobah as he makes his debut in place of Winks.
All is not said and done yet - there will be SEVEN minutes of added time!
Half a chance for Spain again as Morata rises highest inside the area, but his header loops onto the roof of the net.
Alcacer tries to deliver a cross into the box which takes a big deflection and loops towards goal, but Pickford is there to prevent it from crossing the line.
OFF THE BAR!  Spain almost pull a second goal back in the final minute of stoppage time as Alonso climbs high inside the area, but his header comes crashing back off the crossbar!
GOAL!  Ramos does indeed pull a goal back with a firm diving header past the keeper. It is too little too late, though, as the final whistle goes seconds later!
Ramos makes the final score look a little better for Spain, but England held out in that second half and picked up a memorable victory in Seville with one of their best away performances in recent history.

Spain were stunned by a first-half blitz from England as goals from Raheem Sterling either side of a Marcus Rashford strike put them in complete control of the match, and Spain could only muster an Alcacer header in response before Ramos pulled a second back with the final action of a thrilling match.

Right, that is all we have time for this evening!

Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for this remarkable night of international football as England produce a stunning display to beat Spain in Seville. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.

From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

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