ENGLAND (1) vs SPAIN (0)
SPAIN midfielder Cesc Fabregas has taken a swipe at the defensive style that earned England a shock victory in Saturday’s friendly at Wembley.
Former Arsenal captain Fabregas admitted his disappointment at England’s lack of ambition in attack, even once they had led through Frank Lampard’s header.
And the Barcelona star, who returned to Catalonia in the summer after eight years in north London, insisted Spain were happy despite defeat because of their dominance.
“At the end of the day, you want teams to have a go at you and test you and see what happens. We knew, especially after we saw the first XI that they put in, that they were going to defend basically the whole game,” he said.
“Even when they were winning, they had [Danny] Welbeck up front alone and everyone just defending. But this is the way they want to play and it worked for them. We dominated the game and we made England defend nearly the whole 90 minutes. “We played two completely different styles of football. The more defensive one won but we knew that the only way they could score was from a free-kick or a corner and we conceded a not very intelligent free-kick there. We paid for it but, basically, we are happy because we played very well.”
Spain peppered England’s goal with 21 efforts during an increasingly one-sided encounter while the home side mustered just three, although both teams managed just two apiece on target. Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker, named man of the match, made a series of last-ditch interceptions as the visitors probed for an equaliser, while centre-back duo Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka, who returned to Everton last night in order to rest a toe injury, also enhanced their reputations. Capello (left) said: “The two centre-backs played a fantastic game, really good. Every time Spain tried passes through they were in good positions.”
Capello intends to experiment again when Sweden visit tomorrow, with Chelsea skipper John Terry set to return to the centre of defence despite being under investigation by police and the Football Association for alleged racist abuse, which he denies.
Terry’s Blues team-mate Daniel Sturridge is set to win his first cap and will be joined in attack by Fulham’s Bobby Zamora, while Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker is in line for a first senior start.
SPANISH LESSONS | WHAT CAPELLO LEARNED
With doubts surrounding the fitness of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry in less than vintage form, Capello would have been delighted to witness Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott showcase the formidable partnership they once formed at Everton functioning so well against the world champions. Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson remain Capello’s first choice full-backs.
Scott Parker has established himself as a vital cog in England’s wheel and, with Jack Wilshere likely to return once fit, one of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard may well miss out on a starting berth. The Chelsea man’s greater tactical discipline and recent return to goalscoring form puts him ahead of his Liverpool rival.
Competition for places on the flanks remains ultra competitive with none of James Milner, Adam Johnson, Theo Walcott and Stewart Downing covering themselves in glory on Saturday. Up front, despite the part he played in the goal, Darren Bent appeared easier to contain than the busier and more powerful Danny Welbeck.