Belfast Telegraph

Hart stunned as Spain put on classy show

Spain 2-0 England

By Paul Hirst

Mario Gaspar scored a stunning acrobatic volley as Spain ended England's 15-match unbeaten run in merciless fashion in Alicante.

Despite having his back to goal, the Spain right-back managed to beat Joe Hart with a flying volley from Cesc Fabregas' pass.

It was a wonderful goal worthy of winning any match, but Santiago Cazorla made sure of the 2-0 win eight minutes from time.

Hart was visibly deflated following the defeat and when asked if England had been outclassed, he said: "It's hard to say. Spain obviously played well but we made a lot of chances, we set up well and it was a special goal that decided the game.

"We've got players that are capable of that, but so have they, as they have proven, but it was a great goal.

"It's strange how we've ended up playing on a Third Division pitch for a game like England v Spain. It wasn't good enough, I'm not making excuses. I'm upset. We've done well for a long time now so it's difficult when we do lose. We had some chances, we were in the game. We need to dust ourselves off and perform better against France.

"We did break through Spain and we did that on enough occasions but after that we let ourselves down a little bit."

Hart was quick to point out the positives, adding: "We've got a good basis with players like Dele (Alli) and Eric Dier and boys that haven't played that many games.

"I was an old man out there at 28 years old so that's one promising thing but not a great day."

Manager Roy Hodgson felt his side were unlucky with the timing of Mario's stunning opener: "I'm a bit disappointed because for 70 minutes I thought we defended very well," he said.

"It was a poor goal to concede on a counter-attack for us.

"We gave the ball away and got punished by a fantastic goal and of course we were losing players in midfield around that time.

"We had taken Delph and Lallana off already and then Michael Carrick gets injured and we concede the second goal with Chris Smalling limping so we didn't have the best of luck in those areas.

"We played against a very good team, we knew that, the game was pretty much as we expected and for 70 minutes I thought we held up pretty well and in fact we were getting back into the game possession-wise when they scored, but I can't say we deserved to win the game, they were the better team."

Fabregas said England could have no complaints.

"We deserved it, we played some outstanding football. We were always attacking," he said.

"We recovered things we were missing at the last World Cup.

"Tonight we proved we can beat anyone because England are a great squad full of quality players.

"The way we played against them showed our football was impressive."

Spain: Casillas, Mario, Pique, Bartra (Azpilicueta 82), Jordi Alba, Busquets (Koke 78), Hiago (Cazorla 27), Niesta (Nolito 46), Fabregas, Costa (Mata 63), Alcacer (Pedro 74).

Subs Not Used: De Gea, Morata, Nacho, De Marcos, San Jose, Sergio Rico.

Goals: Mario 72,Cazorla 84.

England: Hart, Walker, Jones, Smalling (Cahill 85), Bertrand, Delph (Dier 63), Carrick (Shelvey 90), Lallana (Alli 63), Barkley (Rooney 73), Sterling, Kane.

Subs Not Used: Butland, Clyne, Stones, Gibbs, Heaton.

Booked: Hart.

Referee: Paolo Mazzoleni (Italy).

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