England punish Spain's over-confidence
Too much confidence can be a mortal sin in the game of football. Spain took to the pitch in Seville with such an air of superiority, so much so that England were 0-3 ahead at the interval. So much praise had been heaped upon Luis Enrique's side, coupled with a depleted English team and a bright start which had 'La Roja' feeling that the result would be a mere formality. Spain felt they were in control of the group, the atmosphere, everything. They started playing as if there was just one goal on the pitch, that of Jordan Pickford, and that all they needed to do was rack up the goals and forget about the goal mouth that David De Gea was tending. This happens so often in the game: a team becomes enveloped in a trace of over-confidence that they forget the risks involved in the 90 minutes of action.
Recital from Kane
Due to this collective lapse, England were three up after 38 minutes. Three quick counters from Southgate's men which involved a long range pass, solid control from the front men and three fine finishes from the men in white. Sterling struck twice with Rashford netting the second goal with Tottenham's Harry Kane always presenting a headache for the Spanish defence. The Spurs player is not just an accomplished goal scorer but always a key figure in build-up play akin to Real Madrid's Karim Benzema. Despite the English forward being globally renowned as an out and out target man, his first half performance was a sheer masterclass in the art of creating space and looking for loose balls which involved pulling the Spain rearguard out of position to free up his attacking team-mates.
The second half was always going to be an uphill struggle with the adverse 0-3 score line and to be fair to Luis Enrique's side, they did take the game to England. Alcácer was introduced with the Dortmund striker maintaining his fine run of form scoring with almost his first touch. The talking point of the second half came when Pickford made a mess of a back pass and as Rodrigo robbed the ball the Everton keeper wrestled him back in a what should have been a penalty kick and possible red card. A decision which could clearly have changed the dynamic of the match.It wasn't to be and Spain probed and pushed for a second on the night and at times at this stage of the game I felt how key Jordi Alba's presence could have been. The final scoreline was 2-3 with a last minute goal shortly after Marcos Alonso headed against the crossbar. Last night in Seville was a major setback as we now need to go to Croatian and win.