Raheem Sterling led a brilliant England performance as they stunned Spain with a 3-2 win in Seville on Monday night.
The Manchester City man scored twice as England’s counter-attack tore Spain apart in the first half, with his pace at the heart of all of the Three Lions’ best play. In the process, he also broke a scoring drought at international level that had lasted over three years.
Here’s a closer look at Sterling’s star turn.
Goals – 2
Shots – 2
Assists – 0
Key Passes – 1
Passing Accuracy – 75%
Dribbles – 0
Playing as part of England’s now-familiar front three, Sterling had a superb game, with his pace making him a threat to get in behind Spain’s defence all night long and earning two goals.
He scored his first with a sumptuous finish past David de Gea, following a lovely through ball from Marcus Rashford, and added a second by serving as a perfect strike partner for Harry Kane, who nodded down a simple ball over the top for Sterling to tap in.
Sterling’s pace is often his greatest asset and so it proved again on Monday night. Spain’s defence couldn’t handle his direct running, as he had the beating of them in a foot-race and thus negated their traditional high line.
His finishing can often let him down, but on this occasion, Sterling made no mistake. His first goal was extremely well-taken, as he deceived De Gea by going across his body to find the far corner, before tapping in an easy second.
Raheem Sterling ends his 3 year run without an international goal (27 games).— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) October 15, 2018
It’s also the 1st time he’s scored past David De Gea, having not scored in 13 games v Man Utd when the Spain keeper has been involved pic.twitter.com/DF0J1L7xmF
On a night where he scored twice, it’s hard to pinpoint anything that Sterling did wrong. However, he was occasionally wasteful in possession, with his passing rate of 75 per cent slightly below the mark – though it was still the best of any of England’s front three. Given that the team’s passing accuracy was 77 per cent, Sterling’s number was just about par.
He was also dispossessed four times, more than any other player who took the pitch in Seville.
For a player who hadn’t scored since October 2015, this was a stunning way to remind everyone of his goalscoring prowess. The confidence is flowing through Sterling at the moment, and it was plain to see with his display against Spain.
His pace was perfect for a team geared to play on the counter, while his first goal would have banished most of his demons of playing against De Gea, who’s made him look silly on previous occasions. A stunning performance.
RATING – 9/10
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Here are our player ratings as the Three Lions recorded a famous victory in Seville.
JORDAN PICKFORD: Started the moves for England’s opening two goals and made a superb early save – was arguably at fault for Alcacer’s goal as he conceded a soft corner before losing possession to Rodrigo and winning back the ball with a remarkable sliding challenge. 7.
KIERAN TRIPPIER: Had no chances to show his set-piece prowess as he appears to be sharing right-back duties with Kyle Walker. 6.
HARRY MAGUIRE: So calm and collected in possession of the ball, could have taught his counterparts a thing or two on the night. 7.
JOE GOMEZ: In for the suspended John Stones and, bar an early errant pass, did the job well. 7.
BEN CHILWELL: Taken to international football with aplomb, his second start for the Three Lions coming against a team with the attacking wealth of Spain but the Leicester man coped well. 7.
ERIC DIER: Unfairly booked for a crunching challenge on Ramos but marshalled the midfield from deep. 7.
HARRY WINKS: Slipped into the midfield with ease as he collected just his second cap, with more surely coming his way. 7.
ROSS BARKLEY: A sublime pass for Rashford’s second goal just shows what the Chelsea man can offer at this level. 7.
RAHEEM STERLING: Had two goals in 45 caps but doubled that tally inside 45 minutes as he put the hosts to the sword with a brace to end his 1,102-day England goal drought. 9.
MARCUS RASHFORD: Played in Sterling for the opener before tucking away his own chance, his pace a constant worry for Spain all evening. 8.
HARRY KANE: Still waiting for his first England goal in seven caps but was superb and played a massive part in two of the goals. 8.
KYLE WALKER (for Barkley, 76): Introduced as England reshuffled to a back-three in an attempt to keep Spain at bay as they threatened an unlikely comeback. 6.
TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD (for Trippier, 85): A late injection of pace with England attempting to break out on the rare occasion they saw the ball in the latter stages. 6.
NATHANIEL CHALOBAH (for Winks, 90): A short England debut for the Watford midfielder. n/a
Here are our player ratings on the night:
Spain player ratings:
DAVID DE GEA (out of 10): The Manchester United goalkeeper had no chance with the three goals but that will not look good on a man who had a bad World Cup. 5.
JONNY: Making his first Spain start, the Wolves full-back struggled against the sheer pace of England’s attacking triumvirate. 5.
NACHO: Like his fellow defenders was left more and more exposed as Spain chased the game. 5.
SERGIO RAMOS: Adored in this part of the world but lacked his usual self-confidence as England’s goals flowed. Scored with the last touch of the game to reduce the arrears. 6.
MARCOS ALONSO: Forlornly appealed for offside as Sterling got inside to put England in front having seen an early, point-blank effort saved – hit the bar in stoppage time. 6.
SERGIO BUSQUETS: Normally such a great defensive shield the Barcelona man was over-run too many times. 6.
THIAGO ALCANTARA: Came close to giving Spain the lead and always oozes class, even if he had little scope to do so for large periods of the evening. 7.
SAUL NIGUEZ: Not able to give his Atletico Madrid best and was hooked for goalscorer Paco Alcacer with Spain chasing the game. 5.
IAGO ASPAS: Largely innocuous before making way early in the second-half. 5.
MARCOS ASENSIO: Passed up a decent early chance but worked tirelessly in an attempt to get his side back into the contest. 6.
RODRIGO: Closed down Jordan Pickford but was then challenged by the England number one before he could turn home. 6.
PACO ALCACER (for Saul, 57): Such an in-form striker but not first-choice, he nodded in with his first touch to give the hosts some hope. 7.
DANI CEBALLOS (for Aspas, 57): Injected some more fluidity into Spain’s attacks. 6.
ALVARO MORATA (for Rodrigo, 72): The Chelsea forward was Luis Enrique’s last throw of the dice but could not react quickly enough to turn home from close-range in the closing stages. 5.