England may have lost their 2-0 lead against Spain last night in agonising fashion, as the visitors collected a share of the spoils – but there were a raft of positives to take from the Three Lions’ impressive display.
Here’s why they looked a force to be reckoned with…
Tactically astute England stifled Spaniards
Ignore Spain’s late – and slightly fortunate – comeback for a moment. For 88 minutes, England set up smartly and contained their opponents, letting the visitors knock the ball around midfield, while keeping their own shape defensively.
Deploying a 4-5-1 system, the hosts looked comfortable for much of the game, inviting pressure on from La Furia Roja and using their pace to good effect with a counter-attacking game plan.
Keeping out a side who had notched up 17 goals in their previous five games, for 88 minutes, Gareth Southgate’s intelligent gameplan was no mean feat.
Too Vard to stop
It’s generally Jamie Vardy’s pace and sharp shooting which catch the eye, but the Leicester City ace showed he’s continuing to develop his game with an instinctive header to put England two goals ahead just after the break.
Already a nightmare for defenders to handle, if the Foxes forward can add aerial ability to his game, and Jordan Henderson continues to float in high-quality crosses, England could quickly discover an invaluable new source of goals.
The Liverpool Groove
While England’s starting XI last night included players from six different sides, it was the trio of Liverpool teammates who showed the fluid passing and natural understanding of players used to linking-up together for a top club side – in this case, Liverpool.
The threesome in question – Nathaniel Clyne, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana – worked well together, with the former two on the right-hand side of the pitch feeding in Lallana, who looked lively while on the field, as well as netting the opener for Southgate’s side.
England’s impressive displays and results of late have unsurprisingly put them at just 1/10 to top WCQ Group F, while hopeful fans of the Three Lions can back them to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia at odds of 18/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing