We preview the opening League A match for two nations who had contrasting World Cup campaigns.
Article top media content
- Spain's first game under Luis Enrique
- England reached World Cup semi-finals
- Sides drew 2-2 in Wembley friendly in 2016
- UEFA Nations League: all you need to know
- UEFA Nations League calendar: all the fixtures
England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Henderson, Shaw; Alli, Lingard; Rashford, Kane
Spain: De Gea; Carvajal, Ramos, Albiol, Alonso; Thiago, Busquets, Saúl; Asensio, Morata, Isco
Reporter's view: Simon Hart (@UEFAcomSimonH)
Gareth Southgate will present Harry Kane with his FIFA World Cup Golden Boot at Wembley, but after the unexpected thrills of England's Russia 2018 adventure, the job now is to build on the summer feelgood factor. Southgate has understandably showed his faith in the group that reached the semi-finals, though other players are already knocking on the door – witness the early-season form of left-back Luke Shaw at Manchester United and Liverpool's Joe Gomez.
There are areas where England wish to improve. Southgate has reportedly focused on how his players resorted to hitting long balls under pressure against Croatia and a lack of pressing higher up the pitch – and Spain will provide an intriguing test. After England's last World Cup semi-final appearance in 1990, they suffered a group stage elimination at Euro '92 and did not even make the following World Cup. Hopefully, this time that feelgood factor will endure.
What the coaches say
Gareth Southgate, England manager
With us only being [four] games into the season, I felt some continuity was important, so those who were with us in the summer deserve the right to go again. Others haven't really had the opportunity to force themselves ahead of those guys. I did not think to jettison a group who got to the semi-final would be fair.
Luis Enrique, Spain coach
Our style will remain the same, looking to dictate games, but we need to put our own little touches to it. We aren't going to compare ourselves to past Spain squads who won trophies, but rather the teams we are going to face; in that sense I don't think we're inferior to anyone. We need to return to the top.
2018 World Cup
Qualifying – 1st in Group F (W8 D2 L0)
Final tournament – semi-finals (W3 D1 L2)
Last five matches (most recent first): LWDLW
2018 World Cup
Qualifying – 1st in Group G (W9 D1 L0)
Final tournament – round of 16 (W1 D3 L0)
Last five matches (most recent first): DDWDW