England scored a shock 1-0 win over Spain, in a friendly international at Wembley on Saturday, November 12, 2011, on the back of a second half goal by Frank Lampard.
The hosts fell back in numbers to thwart the Spain forwards after skipper Lampard had given them the crucial lead on 49 minutes. Joelon Lescott, in particular, played brilliantly, in the back-line having been drafted to replace John Terry. Lescott kept the likes of David Villa and Cesc Fabregas at bay, even as the duo missed close scoring opportunities, late in the game, with Villa’s shot hitting the post, and Fabregas shooting wide from close range.
The result was especially stunning given that several key players were absent in the squad named for the game by England coach Fabio Capello. Apart from captain Terry, given a rest after his recent embroilment in a racism controversy, Rio Ferdinand’ missed the match owing to injury, and Wayne Rooney was ignored for selection, as Capello looked at giving useful international exposure to other young prospects. Rooney has been suspended for the first three matches of Euro 2012, and the England coach clearly saw the match with Spain as a preparation for the event to be held in Ukraine and Poland next year.
By contrast, Spain were at near full-strength; Only winger Pedro was missing and the visitors played with eight players who were part of their world cup winning squad in 2010.
England’s defence would have given their coach cause for cheer, with Glen Johnson, outstanding on the night, and Joe Hart not tested between the posts, barring one occasion. That said, England’s attack was largely ineffective, though Wellbeck and Rodwell, with his first cap, gave a good account of themselves; Lampard’s goal transpired from a set-piece.
Spain dominated possession before the interval and while England’s efforts were focussed on negating the Spain attack, the hosts’ own movement forward in numbers worked to upset the visitor’s attacking rhythm. manchester United defender Phil Jones, called to do duty in midfield, was impressive in the way he tailed Iniesta and Xavi.
England missed the creative inputs of Rooney, Wilshere and Young, with a lone striker, in the form of Darren Bent. England eventually scored, four minutes into the second half, when James Milner, who replaced Young on the left flank took a free-kick that Bent headed goalward, and Lampard nodded the ball home after it ricocheted off the inside of the bar.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.