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England suffer post-World Cup hangover, lose to Spain at Wembley

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Nations League not quite as inspiring as the World Cup

England v Spain - UEFA Nations League A Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Marcos Alonso was the only one of five possible Chelsea players to actually participate as Spain began their post-World Cup recovery with a perfunctory 2-1 win over England at Wembley. It was supposed to be England who were on the rise and looking to build on a surprising, nation-enamoring fourth place in Russia, but instead Spain showed their true qualities, especially in midfield and got the three points in this Nations League clash of traditional footballing powers.

England got off to a good start, with Marcus Rashford getting the opening goal ten minutes in, but Spain equalized barely a minute later and took the lead for good around the half-hour mark — Valencia’s Rodrigo turning scorer from provider, and scoring easily from a Thiago free kick. There was no way back from England; even when they worked a rare chance, David De Gea was there to save the day as he so often does for Manchester United. A late-late equalizer was also ruled out for a foul on the goalkeeper.

The second-half was clouded by a sickening injury to left back Luke Shaw (who had set up the Rashford goal) accidentally colliding with Dani Carvajal and getting knocked out cold in midair. Shaw was stretchered off with a neck brace; fortunately, initial reports from the hospital bring happy news.

Alonso was withdrawn late on, after a good 80+ minutes work in his second cap, but none of Azpilicueta, Arrizabalaga, Morata, or Loftus-Cheek featured.