Raheem Sterling double helps England win Nations League contest in Spain

Monday 15 Oct 2018
England celebrate a famous night in Seville

Raheem Sterling scored twice as England stunned a shell-shocked Spain in Seville.

Gareth Southgate’s side produced a scintillating first-half performance which laid the foundations for an impressive 3-2 win in the UEFA Nations League.

And here are five talking points from a famous night for the Three Lions:

Reign in Spain

With Spain sitting on top of League A, Group 4 with six points from their opening two matches and England without a win in four competitive matches, not many people gave the visitors much hope of getting anything from this fixture.

Spain 2-3 England
  • UEFA Nations League
  • League A, Group 4
  • Monday 15 October
  • Estadio Benito de Villamarin, Seville
There were three changes from Friday’s 0-0 draw with Croatia as Kieran Trippier, Joe Gomez and Harry Winks replaced Kyle Walker and the suspended John Stones and Jordan Henderson.

Southgate’s youthful side flew out of the traps and had effectively won the game by half time.

Sterling drew first blood on 16 minutes, finishing off a fine move that had started with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

The ball was worked out to the left where Marcus Rashford found Sterling with a pinpoint through ball and the Manchester City forward did the rest, smashing the ball past David de Gea and into the top corner.

Rashford got himself on the scoresheet on the half-hour mark after being found by Harry Kane.

And Sterling added a third before the interval, converting from close range after Kane’s knock down.

Paco Alcacer and Sergio Ramos reduced arrears in the second half but England stood firm to record a notable win.

It was Spain’s first home reverse in 39 matches, since their defeat by Greece in June 2003, and it was the first time they had conceded three goals in a competitive home match.

It was also England’s first win in Spain since February 1987.

A notable win on a famous night in Seville

Sterling ends drought

Much of the pre-match talk had surrounded Sterling’s goalscoring record for his country – but he certainly silenced any doubters with his first-half brace.

His first was an unerring finish past one of the world’s best goalkeepers; his first international goal since a strike against Estonia in October 2015, and his first away from home.

And his second, his fourth England goal in total, was a close-range finish any poacher would have been proud of.

Marcus on the mark

Rashford missed a couple of decent chances against Croatia – but banished those memories with a goal which capped off a high-energy performance from the Manchester United youngster.

The 20-year-old laid on the opener for Sterling with a wonderful pass from the left.

He then raced onto his captain’s through ball and found the bottom corner with a well-controlled finish.

Rashford (right) celebrates with Harry Kane

Young guns

If the nature of England’s win wasn’t impressive enough, it is made more remarkable by the fact the average age of the starting 11 was just 23.36; the youngest Three Lions team since November 1959. Trippier was the only starter aged over 25.

They say younger players are fearless, and England’s young Lions epitomised that here, tearing into their celebrated Spanish hosts from the outset.

And there was a special moment for 23-year-old midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah, England’s most-capped youth team player of all time, who came off the bench late on for his senior debut.

Courageous Lions

As one would expect, Spain, who have been rejuvenated under new boss Luis Enrique, rallied after the break.

They controlled possession and threatened the England backline on a number of occasions, but the visitors refused to relinquish their lead.

Alcacer pulled a goal back with a near-post header before Pickford had to survive a hairy moment when he was almost caught out by Rodrigo.

Alcacer glanced home a header at the near post

Ramos nabbed a second with a header in the eighth minute of added time but it was a mere consolation that put a gloss on a sobering night for the 2010 World Cup winners.

England sit second in the group on four points with Croatia next up, at Wembley, on Sunday 18 November.


Southgate’s side will warm up for that final Nations League group game with a match against USA three days earlier.


England (4-3-3): 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton); 2 Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), 5 Joe Gomez (Liverpool), 6 Harry Maguire (Leicester City), 3 Ben Chilwell (Leicester City); 8 Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur), 4 Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), 7 Ross Barkley (Chelsea); 10 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), 11 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).

Substitutes: 12 Kyle Walker (Manchester City) for Barkley 76, 14 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) for Trippier 85, 16 Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford) for Winks 90+1.

Substitutes not used: 13 Jack Butland (Stoke City), 15 Lewis Dunk (Brighton & Hove Albion), 17 Mason Mount (Derby County – on loan from Chelsea), 18 James Maddison (Leicester City), 19 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), 21 Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham).

Goals: Sterling 16, 38, Rashford 30

Bookings: Dier 12, Maguire 71

Head coach: Gareth Southgate

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)

By Glenn Lavery