Written by Ese Agboaye
Well, that was a rather extraordinary finish! I did expect a draw, and I’m rather disappointed to be honest. Does Gareth Southgate deserve the job full-time? Let’s talk!
England had the chance to break the deadlock within nine minutes when Jamie Vardy was fouled in the penalty area by Pepe Reina. Reina getting away with only a talking too seemed fair, as I’m not keen on referees being card happy, especially in friendlies. Nevertheless, Adam Lallana stroked his penalty past Reina to put his side in the lead.
Theo Walcott also had chances of his own to wrap up the game, but was denied through some rather decent goalkeeping by Reina
Jamie Vardy had two chances to end his goal drought towards the end of the first half, but neither came of anything.
England doubled their lead within three minutes of the second half when Vardy eventually ended his goal scoring drought with a diving header, with a cross coming from Jordan Henderson. Shortly before Vardy’s goal though Theo Walcott was put through on goal, but saw his attempt saved.
After Vardy’s goal, Walcott had another chance to score, but Reina’s goalkeeping game was strong.
With England being 2-0 up, I would’ve thought Southgate’s side would’ve held on, thus staking Southgate’s claim for the job, but Spain had other ideas.
A debut goal by Iago Aspas, coupled with another from Isco saw Spain fight back from two goals down, to claim an impressive draw.
Had this been a qualifying match, it would be “two points dropped” rather than “one point gained”, and it definitely feels like that, even though it was just a friendly.
There were some incidents during the game such as Vardy’s foul on Cesar Azpilicueta. Should Vardy have been yellow carded?
Did the substitutions destabilise the team? Some of the substitutions such as Joe Hart being replaced by Tom Heaton needed to be made (debatable) so that silly mistakes wouldn’t be made.
So, the burning question is this: has Southgate done enough to prove to the FA that he deserve the job on a full time basis? In my preview, I said that I wouldn’t reach for the panic button had England not won. Now? I still hold on to that. I still don’t think the result is a major cause for concern, but it was the way England forfeited a 2-0 lead that had me worrying. Had England gone a goal down, then came back to equalise, then I would be a little more satisfied.
Do I think Southgate has done enough to earn him the full-time job? The way he has reacted, and responded to each match would do it for me. But let’s wait on the FA’s decision.
What are your thoughts on the game? Do you think the substitutions made were necessary? The way I see it, the maximum number of substitutions a team can utilise is six, and both sides used the opportunity. Although, making too many changes can sometimes unsettle a team’s fluency, I understand that Southgate wanted his side to be alert, and not fall asleep.
Overall, I think a draw is a fair result (although not how I imagined).
What did we learn from this performance? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by jo.sau