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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos hails 'world-class' England performance in victory over Spain

But captain puts on brave face and says his side will bounce back after 3-2 defeat

Spain's Sergio Ramos was predictably unhappy after their match against England, but he conceded the opponents were world-class. Reuters
Spain's Sergio Ramos was predictably unhappy after their match against England, but he conceded the opponents were world-class. Reuters

Spain captain Sergio Ramos felt England were world-class during their 3-2 victory in Seville.

Gareth Southgate's men stunned Spain in one of the most memorable England wins for many a year, and their first in that country since 1987.

Raheem Sterling scored two goals in the opening 45 minutes, having only scored twice in his previous 45 international appearances, with Marcus Rashford sweeping home in an extraordinary first half which Spain midfielder Dani Ceballos called a "disaster" for his side.

Spain were much improved after the break and responded with goals from Paco Alcacer and Ramos, who was encouraged by his team's riposte.

"The beautiful thing about football is that it gives you an opportunity to turn things around," Ramos was quoted as saying by L'Equipe following Spain's first competitive defeat on home soil since 2003.

"England are world-class opponents with some very dangerous players. We had to forget the first half and turn it around in the time it took them to go 3-0 up.

"It's a shame we couldn't answer them. It didn't go as planned."

Ramos' Real Madrid teammate Ceballos came on as a second-half substitute and set up one of Spain's goals.

"The first half was a bit of a disaster and it left us in a bad position," he told Marca. "The coach asked us to be ourselves, as we have been in previous matches, but we couldn't."

Meanwhile, Marcos Alonso believes Chelsea teammate Ross Barkley can be the answer to England's midfield problems.

The Three Lions reached the World Cup semi-finals this summer, despite an over-reliance on goals from set-pieces and the lack of a playmaker capable of creating a chance out of nothing.

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Read more:

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Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane says he is not in need of a rest despite England goal drought

Croatia 0 England 0: Southgate shows a refreshing willingness to challenge conventional wisdom

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Barkley did not go to Russia, but has returned to the international scene after a two-year absence to play a big part in England taking four points from their two tricky away games in the Uefa Nations League against Croatia and Spain.

Barkley played a key role in a three-man midfield in Seville - alongside Tottenham Hotspur pair Eric Dier and Harry Winks - as the youngest England side since 1959 won in Spain for the first time in over 30 years.

Alonso feels England do not have another midfielder with Barkley's quality on the ball.

"Even at the World Cup England, despite playing well, were aware that they didn't really have that kind of player, someone in the middle who played and made others play, who used the ball," Alonso told the Telegraph.

"He's a great player. He showed it not just today but against Croatia [last Friday], too: he showed that he can be a great player. I hope he keeps improving and that he helps us at Chelsea to stay near the top."