England surprised fans, pundits and bookies by beating world champions Spain 1-0 at Wembley on Saturday.
The only goal of the game came from stand-in skipper Frank Lampard who headed in from barely a yard out after Darren Bent hit the post with a header. Despite the result it was the visitors who enjoyed the vast majority of possession and territory, but were unable in the first half to turn their domination into gilt-edged chances.
The decisive goal came in the 49th minute after a James Milner free-kick found Bent’s head among a crowd of players. The Villa striker had Pepe Reina beaten, but found the post with the bounce falling favourably for Lampard who was the only player to follow up. The Liverpool keeper had only been on the pitch for four minutes having come on as a half time substitute for Iker Casillas, but he could do nothing to prevent the goal.
Spain stepped up their pressure after the goal and managed to pass around the England midfield with ease at times. But the home side proved resilient, with Scott Parker and Joleon Lescott deserving praise for their perseverance and fine tackling.
While England effectively got out-played for much of the match, for periods in the second half Fabio Capello’s men knocked it around with accuracy and confidence. Their patience and industry when Spain were in possession was admirable and second half introductions Danny Welbeck, Jack Rodwell and Kyle Walker did not overawed by any means facing the best team in international football.
While Capello will want to keep things in perspective, the win is an undoubted boost and can only help England’s preparations in the countdown towards Euro 2012.