Spain beats England 2-0 thanks to Gaspar's superb volley
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 14, 2015 10:17 AM
Englandís Ryan Bertrand, left, jumps for the ball with Spainís Mario Gaspar during an international friendly soccer match between Spain and England at the Rico Perez Stadium in Alicante, Spain, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
ALICANTE, Spain (AP) — Mario Gaspar scored with a remarkable spinning volley from the top of the area to lead Spain to a 2-0 win over England in a friendly on Friday, handing the English their first loss in nearly a year and a half.
After a high pass by Cesc Fabregas in the 71st minute, Gaspar swiveled his body and struck a right-footed acrobatic volley to send the ball into the top corner past England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who could only watch it fly over his outstretched arms.
"It was one of the best goals of my life," Gaspar said. "The ball went where it had to go. These types of goals don't come often, but it happened when it had to happen."
It was the second goal in as many matches with Spain's national team for the Villarreal right back. He had scored in his international debut in a European qualifier against Ukraine last month.
"I'm thrilled, I know this is not very common," he said. "It was a special game for me."
Santi Cazorla sealed Spain's victory with a low shot from outside the area in the 84th.
The result put an end to England's 15-game unbeaten streak, which dated back to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It had won 12 games, including all 10 in Euro 2016 qualifying, and drawn three times, including in friendlies against Italy and Ireland this year.
The game in the southeastern city of Alicante featured two teams that will be under the spotlight at next year's European Championship — with Spain bidding for a third consecutive European title and England hoping to build on its impressive run in qualifying.
Both squads were depleted by injuries, though, and couldn't fully measure up to expectations. Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque was missing Sergio Ramos, Francisco "Isco" Alarcon, David Silva, Juanfran Torres and Dani Carvajal, among others, while England manager Roy Hodgson was without forwards Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck and chose not to start Wayne Rooney.
To make things worse for Del Bosque, midfielder Thiago Alcantara had to be substituted by Cazorla because of a knee injury in the 25th, while Hodgson lost midfielder Michael Carrick in injury time.
Spain controlled possession and had most of the significant scoring chances throughout the match at the Jose Rico Perez Stadium.
Striker Paco Alcacer nearly opened the scoring after entering the area in the 29th, missing just wide, and two minutes later Diego Costa came close to finding the net with a curling shot that went past the top corner.
England relied mostly on counterattacks. One of its best chances was a long-range shot by Harry Kane in the 67th, and Wayne Rooney's strike from inside the area in second-half injury time struck the crossbar.
Both teams play top sides again on Tuesday, with Spain traveling to face Belgium in Brussels and England hosting France in London for its final game of the year.
England will also play Germany and the Netherlands in March, while Spain will face Italy and Romania that same month in preparations for Euro 2016.