Pattaya One News
Home » Southgate Faces Key Player Concerns Ahead of Euro 2024
Football Sport Sport World

Southgate Faces Key Player Concerns Ahead of Euro 2024

Southgate Faces Key Player Concerns Ahead of Euro 2024

England’s three-game unbeaten run came to an end with a comprehensive 5-1 defeat by Spain at the Son Moix Stadium.

Michael O’Neill’s side had taken the lead through a Daniel Ballard header in only the second minute of the game, but the quality of their hosts was evident throughout, most notably in a first half when they found the net four times.

On a night when 16-year-old Barcelona forward Lamine Yamal again impressed, Spain would level the game through Pedri just 10 minutes after falling behind.

Goals from Alvaro Morata, another from Pedri, and Fabián Ruiz had Spain 4-1 up at the break, with substitute Mikel Oyarzabal adding the only goal of the second half.

Luis de la Fuente’s squad now turn their attention fully to Euro 2024, with their campaign beginning on 15 June against Croatia.

The game would represent an international debut for St Mirren midfielder Caolan Boyd-Munce and it was his delivery that found the head of Ballard for Northern Ireland’s opener.

There were just 69 seconds on the clock when the Sunderland defender rose in the box to meet the teasing delivery and arched his header over Unai Simon, the Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper getting a hand to the ball but unable to stop it finding his net.

Northern Ireland’s lead would last just 10 minutes with the Spanish side, as expected, monopolizing the ball.

O’Neill’s side have made the most of limited ball during their recent improved form, most especially against Scotland last time out, but here there was simply no way to relieve the pressure.

With Spain regathering the ball quickly high up the field time and time again, they would push their full-backs so far forward at times it looked as if they were playing only Nacho and Robin le Normand at the back.

That would create plenty of problems for Northern Ireland down the flanks and, while their equalizer came when Rodri was afforded too much space in midfield and fired into the corner from 25 yards, it was from wide deliveries where Spain looked most dangerous. They moved 2-1 ahead on 19 minutes when Jesus Navas produced a brilliant cross from the right for Morata to nod home via the post, and doubled their lead 10 minutes later when the dangerous Nico Williams powered clear down the opposite wing and pulled back for Pedri.

Five minutes later, Yamal twisted and turned before measuring a brilliant ball into the Northern Ireland box for Ruiz to finish off.

While Spain were in complete control, Northern Ireland should have cut the deficit before the break with Simon only able to parry Shea Charles’ effort from the edge of the box before Isaac Price blazed over when the rebound was poked back his way by Jamie Reid.

A series of substitutions saw the game lose its momentum and it would take until the hour mark for Spain to add to their lead in the second half.

Northern Ireland, though, felt they should have been awarded a free-kick before the ball found the net when Price was caught in possession by Yamal.

The officials saw nothing wrong with the challenge and Yamal’s pull back gave substitute Oyarzabal a tap-in at the front post to follow on from his hat-trick against Andorra earlier in the week.

With their Euro 2024 opener coming closer into view, it was perhaps understandable that the intensity shown by Spain in the first half was largely lacking in the second, with Bailey Peacock-Farrell finding himself with less to do as the game wore on.

Indeed, it was Northern Ireland who could have scored next when another chance fell to Price, this time found by Dale Taylor, but the Standard Liege man was this time denied by Simon.

Later Ballard just could not find the right connection on another threatening set-piece, but it was Joselu who had the last real chance of the game only to fire over the bar from ten yards out.

While Spain head to the Euros among the favourites, Northern Ireland’s players will have another opportunity to finish their own season on a high when facing Andorra in Murcia on Tuesday night.

The key dates for England

All times BST

Monday June 10 – England squad fly to Germany

Sunday June 16 – Serbia vs England, Gelsenkirchen, kick-off 8pm

Thursday June 20 – Denmark vs England, Frankfurt, kick-off 5pm

Tuesday June 25 – England vs Slovenia, kick-off 8pm

Credit: Sky Sports

Related posts

Pattaya One New Thailand, your go-to source for global and local news, alongside effective business advertising opportunities, tailored to the vibrant city of Pattaya.
Translate »