Luis Enrique admitted Spain left themselves with a mountain to climb after their first-half display as England secured a memorable 3-2 victory in Seville.
Raheem Sterling ended his 1,102-day wait for an international goal in style in Seville, where he opened the scoring before netting again once Marcus Rashford had fired home.
It was a breathtaking first half that brought back memories of the 5-1 shellacking of Germany in 2001, but Spain rallied and piled on the pressure after the break as substitute Paco Alcacer pulled one back.
Sergio Ramos grabbed another in stoppage time, but England had done enough for to secure a 3-2 victory that underlines the progress being made by the World Cup semi-finalists.
You can read our player ratings from the game as we picked out one England star who needs to ‘get nasty’ to become a top star.
Spain were close to snatching a late point, but their dreadful first-half display gave them too much of a mountain to climb.
“The first half, atrocious, it has to be recognised,” head coach Enrique said after his first defeat since taking over after the World Cup.”
Asked where England had been better than his side, the former Barcelona boss continued: “We arrived late pressing, the first goal killed us. We made so many individual errors.
“With 2-0, sitting back and coming out on the break, they are dangerous. A group with two World Cup semi-finalists is not easy.
“Now we continue to depend on ourselves, we have to go to Croatia and win (to win the group).”
Gareth Southgate praised his side’s resilience as they weathered the Spanish onslaught in the second half, though the result could have been different had Jordan Pickford been punished for his error.
Pickford was often in the spotlight at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, where he played a key role in the Three Lions’ opening two goals before almost gifting Spain a way back through his overconfidence.
“We’ve tried to talk to him about having an extra touch because at times when you do that the game opens up for you as a goalkeeper and some of those options become more apparent,” Southgate said of the England goalkeeper.
“So I thought in the two matches he’s had this week, he’s shown real composure to do that, find passes into midfielders.
“He has got the technical ability to do it.
“He maybe hasn’t got the technical ability to do a Cruyff (turn) in his own six-yard box, but that’s something he’ll have to work on at Everton not with us probably.”
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