Friday, 13 November 2015

Preview - Spain v England

England begin their preparations for Euro 2016 with a trip to Spain to face Vicente Del Bosque's in-form defending champions.

Spain, victorious in Vienna at Euro 2012, have won their last six matches, a run that stretches back to mid-June, and have kept clean sheets in four consecutive games against Slovakia, Macedonia, Luxembourg and Ukraine.

England beat Spain 1-0 in their last encounter thanks to Frank Lampard's second-half strike in a Wembley friendly, and Roy Hodgson's men head into Friday's game full of confidence after a perfect 10 wins from 10 in their European qualification campaign.

Originally scheduled for the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Friday's friendly will instead take place at the 30,000 capacity Estadio Jose Rico Perez in Alicante.

Jamie Vardy is Hodgson's only injury concern - the Leicester striker picked up a knock in the Foxes' victory over Watford and is doubtful.

Wayne Rooney will be rested, which opens the door for Harry Kane to lead the attack. Hodgson confirmed the England captain will be available against France on Tuesday. Spurs duo Dele Alli and Eric Dier are in line for first international starts after Liverpool's James Milner pulled out of the squad with a hamstring injury earlier in the week.

Diego Costa could start for the hosts, but Del Bosque will be without David Silva (ankle), Sergio Ramos (shoulder) and Isco (muscle). The Real Madrid playmaker left Spain's training camp with an undisclosed muscular injury, and his absence could allow a rare start for Manchester United's Juan Mata or Celta Vigo's Nolito.

Spain have won three of the last four internationals with England, losing the last meeting in November 2011 at Wembley.

The last time England won away in Spain was in February 1987 - Gary Lineker scored all four goals in a 4-2 win for Sir Bobby Robson's side. In fact, England haven't scored in their last three matches in Spain under three different managers (Graham Taylor, Sven Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello).

Spain have won 10 of their last 11 on home soil, losing only to Germany in November 2014. But England haven't conceded in their last four games - they last went five without conceding in October 2014.

The last team to play an international against Spain in Alicante were Scotland in 2011 (lost 3-1). In seven internationals, Spain have won six and drawn one (against Hungary in 1977).

Roy Hodgson is unbeaten in his last eight friendlies as England manager (W4 D4), last losing to Germany in November 2013.

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