Competition: International Friendly – Spain vs. England
Venue: Estadio José Rico Pérez – Friday, November 13 – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET)
Match Odds: Spain 3/4 – Draw 12/5 – England 4/1
Spain host England at Estadio José Rico Pérez on Friday night as the two sides lock horns for the first time since 2011. The Spanish national team, as you would expect, is loaded with talent but a few key players are missing.
As with any International Friendly, this gives the head coaches a chance to rotate and experiment, but given the strength of both squads, the game has the makings of a good one.
Spain have won their last five on the bounce and are unbeaten in six. The last meeting between the sides was back in 2011 at Wembley in a game which was settled by a single Frank Lampard goal.
The two haven’t met on Spanish turf since 2009, where the hosts last came out on top as 2-0 winners, with David Villa and Fernando Llorente netting on that occasion.
Six Premier League players have made the squad for Spain, including four Chelsea players in Cesar Azpilicueta, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro Rodriguez and Diego Costa, which comes as a surprise given their abysmal season with the Blues so far. Manchester United’s David de Gea could start in goal, while Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla will look to make an impact from midfield.
England have enjoyed some of their best form to date since the World Cup in 2014. They are unbeaten in their last 15 and have scored an impressive 16 goals in their last five outings.
Roy Hodgson has opted for a squad full of young players who will see this as a chance to make a lasting impression with the European Championships just around the corner. The Tottenham midfield duo of Dele Alli and Eric Dier will be hoping for minutes on the pitch, while their teammate Harry Kane is expected to feature.
England captain Wayne Rooney has struggled for consistent form so far this season with Manchester United but is always likely to produce for the national team.
This is a good chance for Hodgson to pick up a positive result in Spain but he will be focusing on getting the best out of his players and looking for consistency to continue with Euro 2016 now just seven months away.
Spain have recalled Diego Costa to the side. The Chelsea forward has only played nine times for his adopted nation, scoring just once. One to watch is Paco Alcacer, the Valencia forward has netted five in five this season. The usual suspects for Spain are expected to play some part in this one, with the likes a Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, Jordi Alba, Isco and Koke all making the squad. Sergio Ramos and Juanfran have withdrawn due to injury.
England have had just the one withdrawal from the squad as James Milner will miss both this and the France game. Tottenham’s impressive start to the Premier League season has seen four of their inform stars make the squad. Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy will be itching to make an impression as they have been in incredible form so far in their domestic seasons. Kane has six goals and Vardy has 12 so far this campaign.
Spain’s last five: W/W/W/W/W
England’s last five: W/W/W/W/W
Key Stat: England are unbeaten in their last 15 outings and have scored 16 goals in their last five games.
Key Player: Paco Alcacer – So long as the Spanish forward starts he will be looking to punish the England defence. His five in five for Valencia have alerted a number of European clubs and the 22-year-old certainly doesn’t lack confidence.
Spain 1-1 England – Neither side will want to lose this one and with recent form taken into consideration they are hard to split. Both sides have a two tough fixtures in this international break and domestic managers will have issued strict warnings to both Vicente del Bosque and Roy Hodgson that they don’t want any unnecessary injuries to their players. That could result in a cagey draw.