After the strange and eerie atmosphere in Croatia a few days ago we swiitch to 60,000 plus passionate fans and a full house in Seville.
From bad finishing..." He couldn't finish his dinner" ..waso ne comment about Marcus Rashford.... to an awesome England first 45 minutes in the Benito Villamarin stadium, and a memorable performance comparible to the 5-1 thrashing of Germany in the Olympiastadion Munich in 2001.
Raheem Sterling, so clinical at Manchester City, ended his three year international drought with a brace in the first half, after just two in 45 previous international appearances. Despite not getting on the scoreboard, striker Harry Kane had a part in all three goals and Marcus Rashford showed that he had not forgotten how to find the back of the net with style..
"Are you Scotland in disguise", chanted the 5,000 or so away fans at the miserable performance of the Spaniards before the interval. They and the players sang "God Save the Queen" with gusto, whereas the Spanish squad remained silent pre kick off since their Hymn Nacional doesn't have any words !!
The second half was not so great for The Three Lions, and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford grabbed Rodrigo in the penalty area after trying to execute a Johann Cruyff turn and should have been shwn a red card and conceeded a penalty. However referee Szymon Marciniak and his crew did not act and only gave a corner kick.
At the half coach Luis Enrique and the home fans were stunned and performed much better on their return to the field, My last visit to the stadium was 10 years ago for a league match with the home team Real Betis Sevilla in their green seated stadium. By full time the place was strewn with discarded pistachio nut rubbish. In 1982 I was present in the press box for Brazil v Scotland. After a stunning strike by David Narey in the 18th minute Zico, Oscar, Eder and Falcao fought back for a 4-1 victory.
There were 47,000 fans back then. Now it holds 60,000 and is the third biggest in the country and surpasses nearby Servilla FC's Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium by 15,000, also used for a semi-final in 1982.
Meanwhile last night in Rijeka the HNK stadion was finally opened to fans for a friendly with Jordan and a 2-0 win for the Croats. They are 4th in the FIFA rankings to Jordan 110th with England 6th a Spain 9th.
Spain came back with two second half headers, the last one the final act of the match after 7 added minutes. On November 15th Croatia host Spain and on the 18th England plays Croatia at Wembley. If Spain fail to beat Croatia and England win then The Three Lions otp the group and move on to the finals. If they lose at home to Croatia they get relegated from the top group.