England 1 = 0 Spain
After England’s last game against the Welsh I asked myself Why bother? I then made a decision that I wouldn’t go to any more England games while Capello was in charge unless they played certain teams*… Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Scotland, Brazil and Argentina. There was one other team on this list and that was Spain so I find myself back at Wembley watching the national team, well not quite I was here to watch Spain.
Before the match I expected England to be turned over by the current World & European champions. The Spanish featured 8 of the Barcelona players who I saw destroy Mallorca just a couple of weeks ago and their first half possession showed how good this Spanish side is. However all that great play and amazing passing by Alonso wasn’t enough as the English defense it has to be said was awesome all night. Both Lescott and Jagielka have clearly made a bold statement that they should be England’s center backs going forward. Scott Parker was also awesome throwing himself into every challenge he could as if his life depended on it. (Why does Parker run like a player from the 1950’s?)
England started the second half like a totally different team and soon scored through Fat Frank. United’s Danny Welbeck should have scored a second but shot his load in front of Pepe Reina before striking the ball itself. Spain didn’t have any real threat on goal until their players with premiership experience were all on the park and ironically it was Torres (booed from the moment he come on) who looked by far the most dangerous. David Villa hit the post and former Gooner Fabregas should have scored late on but fluffed his lines.
This wasn’t a great all round performance but it did show that we can hold the best at bay with some outstanding defending. Despite the win the game also showed the quality in class that Spain have over England. Their passing was a totally different level to ours. Watching Xabi Alonso pinging balls left right and center with pin point accuracy was a pleasure to watch again, how we miss him at Liverpool, I really hope Rafa was watching and can see how much better he is to Garath Barry. Spain never gave up, everyone wanted the ball and on every attack ran forward with the play, when England attacked it was often only the front 3 getting up with the play.
England would have felt lucky to get a draw, and this would have simply been down to some excellent defending throughout the game. To win it must have made the Spanish boys wonder if they were in a nightmare. England’s goal was lucky but at the end of the day football is about scoring and Spain failed to do so.
Match report: BBC
* Even though I say this I will be at Wembley on Tuesday for Sweden as well now due to Rijkels going to some gig at Wembley Arena (which I really don’t fancy going to) and therefore I’ll be over that way for most of the afternoon so it made sense.