Spain snatch comeback win against England in Nations League group opener

Spain came from behind to win their Nations League Group A4 opener 2-1 against England at Wembley.

Sport360 staff 2018/09/08

Spain came from behind to win their Nations League Group A4 opener 2-1 against England at Wembley.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate started with eight of the XI which began the World Cup semi-final against Croatia – and saw his team sweep into a 10th-minute lead.

Marcus Rashford clipped the ball past Manchester United team-mate David De Gea after a fine low cross from full-back Luke Shaw.

Spain, with former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique now in charge, hit back straight away when Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez lashed in from close range after slick build-up play from Dani Carvajal.

The visitors then turned the match around after 32 minutes when Rodrigo volleyed in following a free-kick.

There was a lengthy delay early in the second half as United defender Shaw, making his first England start since September 2015, was taken off on a stretcher after a heavy fall following a collision with Carvajal.

Deep into nine minutes of added time, England thought they had found an equaliser when substitute Danny Welbeck hooked the ball in after it had been dropped at his feet by De Gea – but the Dutch referee ruled the goal out for a foul.

In Group A2, Liverpool midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri helped Switzerland to a thumping 6-0 win over Iceland.

Steven Zuber fired the home side in front after 13 minutes, with Denis Zakaria knocking in a second shortly afterwards.

Shaqiri’s free-kick flicked in off Birkir Bjarnason after 53 minutes, with Haris Seferovic and Albian Ajeti, on his debut, completing the route in St Gallen.

Northern Ireland’s Group B3 campaign got off to a frustrating start as they lost 2-1 to Bosnia and Herzegovina despite dominating the match at Windsor Park.

Michael O’Neill’s side could have been given a penalty within the opening minute when George Saville tumbled under a challenge from Ervin Zukanovic, but Czech referee Pavel Kralovec waved play on.

Despite Northern Ireland dominating possession, it was the visitors who opened the scoring after 37 minutes through a close-range finish from Haris Duljevic.

Elvis Saric later capitalised on a defensive mix-up to double the lead in the 64th minute.

Northern Ireland rallied again and finally found a goal in stoppage time through Will Grigg but could not conjure a dramatic equaliser.

Norwich forward Teemu Pukki’s early goal proved enough to give Finland a 1-0 victory over Hungary in their Group C2 clash in Tampere.

Olympiakos captain Kostas Fortounis was on target in the second half as Greece won 1-0 in Estonia.

Saturday’s Group D2 matches saw Belarus romp to a 5-0 home win over San Marino, Stanislaw Drahun scoring twice, while Luxembourg saw off Moldova 4-0.

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David De Gea England football Gareth Southgate Marcus Rashford Saul Niguez Spain football