UEFA Nations League: England vs Spain preview

England kick off their UEFA Nations League campaign with a very difficult match on Saturday evening as they host former World and European champions Spain at Wembley Stadium in London. The two teams have last met in a friendly match in 2016, which ended 2-2. The friendly matches between the two sides have been quite frequent lately, seven matches since 2001, and Spain have won four of them while England won just two. The last competitive match between the two nations was at the 1996 European Championship and England prevailed on penalties after a goalless draw.

England have performed above expectations at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, they reached the semi-finals and then lost the third-place playoff against Belgium. That tournament could be a solid foundation for manager Gareth Southgate to build upon as quite a few young players were part of the squad in Russia. The England boss will most likely stick to the same eleven that played at the World Cup this summer, but left-back Ashley Young could be replaced by in-form Luke Shaw. Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana have pulled out of the squad due to injuries.

Spain are desperate to return to their former glory after a rather lackluster showing at the FIFA World Cup this summer. They have won just one of their four matches at the World Cup and got knocked out immediately after the group stage by host nation Russia. Since then the Spanish FA have finally appointed a new head coach as former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique took charge. Striker Diego Costa will be unavailable for this match after he pulled out of the squad for personal reasons.

Probable line-ups:

England: Pickford - Walker, Stones, Maguire - Trippier, Lingard, Henderson, Alli, Shaw - Kane, Rashford

Spain: De Gea - Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Alonso - Niguez, Busquets, Alcantara - Asensio, Morata, Isco

My prediction: 2-2 draw, I expect a spectacular match between these two teams but I can't see any of them winning it.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

England win - 2.90
Draw - 3.20
Spain win - 2.75

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