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Nov 13, 2015 at 7.45pm UK
Spain
2-0
England
Gaspar (72'), Cazorla (84')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Spain vs. England

:Headline: Preview: Spain vs. England: ID:256837: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Friday's international friendly between Spain and England.

Qualification for next year's European Championships may already be in the bag for both Spain and England, but now is the time for the players to make their case for selection.

La Roja host the Three Lions in Alicante on Friday in a friendly match as both nations begin preparations for the tournament, which gets underway in France next summer.


Spain

Vicente del Bosque's side ended their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a flourish as they claimed eight consecutive victories after losing 2-1 to Slovakia in October last year.

La Roja are the holders of the trophy, and can become European champions three times in a row if they manage to go all the way in France next summer.

Spain lost their title as world champions last year to Germany, who dominated the tournament in Brazil and will try to snatch their opponents' European crown next year.

The Spanish nation, who have won four major trophies, no longer top the FIFA world rankings as they are currently sixth behind Belgium, Germany, Argentina, Portugal and Chile.

Despite not being the dominating figure in world football, Del Bosque's side still provide a difficult test for England as they are unbeaten in their last six games overall, but out of their last four international friendlies, they have lost three and only managed to win once.

In 2015, though, Spain have only been beaten once and that was a 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands in a friendly in March.

Aside from that blip, Spain have won seven of their eight games in 2015, scoring 12 goals.

Recent form: WWWWWW


England

After the disappointing early exit from the World Cup in 2014, England responded in fine fashion by winning every single one of their Euro 2016 qualifying matches.

Roy Hodgson's side were the only nation to finish with a 100% record, but it is best not to get too carried away as the English team were not up against the fiercest opposition in European football.

With all due respect to Switzerland, Estonia, Slovenia, San Marino and Lithuania, England could not have been handed a kinder group, and there would have been question marks had they not passed with flying colours.

England's friendly against Spain will be the first big test that the team have faced since playing out a 1-1 draw with Italy in a friendly in March.

While there may be nothing riding on this fixture, it will give Hodgson and his players a good idea of what they will be up against when they take to the pitch next summer.

One thing is for certain - since Hodgson is likely to leave his role as England boss after the Championships, he will want to make sure that the team does better than their failings at the World Cup.

The Three Lions have not managed to thrive in major competitions in recent years, but their run-up to Euro 2016 could not be going much better as they have won their last six games, scoring 20 goals and conceding just two.

Recent form: WWWWWW


Team News

Friendlies usually give some of the fringe players a chance to show what they are capable of, but given that these two nations are of a high calibre, managers will want to go for a win.

Spain have suffered a few recent injury problems, with David Silva not part of the squad due to injuries, while Sergio Ramos and Juanfran have withdrawn after getting injured at the weekend while playing for Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid respectively.

Ramos's club teammate Nacho is likely to take his place in defence, and there are also questions over who will line up in attack after Diego Costa was recalled after missing Spain's last two qualifiers.

The Chelsea striker has struggled to find form at club level, as well as on the international stage as he has scored just once in nine appearances, meaning that Alvaro Morata or Paco Alcacer could be given a chance.

For England, Hodgson has had some injuries of his own to deal with given that Arsenal duo Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are out, while Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge remains a long-term absentee.

The good news is that John Stones and Fabian Delph have returned from injuries, and Tottenham Hotspur's Eric Dier has been called up for the first time with the hope of making his debut.

Spain possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Mario, Pique, Nacho, Alba; Thiago, Cazorla, Koke; Isco, Morata, Nolito

England possible starting lineup:
Hart; Clyne, Cahill, Smalling, Bertrand; Carrick, Shelvey; Lallana, Barkley, Sterling; Kane


Head To Head

These two sides have not met competitively since 1996 when England won 4-2 on penalties in the European Championships following a goalless draw in normal time.

Since then, there have been five friendlies between the nations, with England winning two and Spain coming out on top in the remaining three fixtures.

The last time that the sides met was in November 2011, where the Three Lions earned a 1-0 win at Wembley, with Frank Lampard scoring the goal.

England were on the end of a 2-0 defeat the last time that the team played in Spain, which was in 2009, but overall, in the 23 meetings between the pair, the Three Lions lead the way with 13 wins compared to Spain's eight.


We say: Spain 2-1 England

There is nothing riding on this game, but there is plenty to gain as international teams need to make the most of their warm-up fixtures ahead of next summer's European Championships. England have not faced this calibre of opposition since March when they played Italy in a friendly, so it will be tough for them to continue that winning run. Spain have the advantage of playing in front of a home crowd, and even if they concede, they have enough quality to edge to a victory.



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