England vs. Spain: What We Learned from Epic 2013 Women's Euro Showdown

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVJuly 13, 2013

LINKOPING, SWEDEN - JULY 12: Anita Asante of England (R) challenges Vicky Losada of Spain (L) during the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 Group C match between England and Spain at Linkoping Arena on July 12, 2013 in Linkoping, Sweden. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

On Friday, Spain defeated England 3-2 in what was one of the most exciting and back-and-forth soccer matches that you'll see in the 2013 UEFA Women's Euro group stage, and it left us with plenty to take from the affair.

While neither team confirmed their future in the tournament, and while there are still two matches left to play in Group C, it was certainly a telling moment when the Spanish bounced back from two English equalizers to win late. 

Let's take a look at the biggest takeaways and things to learn from England vs. Spain.

England Will Be Tough to Put Down

At one point in this match, it looked as if England were sure to fall victim to the potent offense of Spain that couldn't be stopped.

Then, out of nowhere, they pulled out one of the most clutch goals of the tournament that had to be outdone in legendary fashion to be topped. 

England never led in the match. They went down in the fourth minute on a goal from Spanish captain Veronica Boquete, but they rallied back in no time to pull it level at 1-1 before the 10th minute. 

Things would stay scoreless until the 85th minute, when Jennifer Hermoso gave Spain what looked like a match-winner. However, England would take just four minutes to score again, evening things up at 2-2 with an 89th-minute goal from Laura Bassett. It seemed sure to go to a draw before Spain's improbable winner.

Spain looked destined to win this match with close chance after close chance, but it was impossible to write off the English ladies. If Spain had given them even two minutes to spare, who knows what may have happened?

Spain's Possessive Offense Pays Off

The Spanish women's national team is much like the men's in that they work to dominate possession, and it paid off with a plethora of scoring chances on Friday.

The first payoff was right after the opening kickoff, with a fourth-minute pass by Sonia that reached the captain Boquete's foot to finish inside 10 yards. Just as all three of their goals were, it was a byproduct of a long possessive battle. 

Then, it would become a defensive fight for the next nearly 80 minutes after England's eighth-minute equalizer. Despite the lack of goals, it wasn't short on flair as Spain generated at least three opportunities that should've ended with the ball in the back of the net. 

The hard work paid off again in the 85th minute to put Spain up a goal, and once more in the 93rd minute to get out of the pesky English grasp that caught up to them two times prior in the match.

Match No. 2 Will Be Crucial for Both Teams

The two early queens of Group C, Spain and France, will battle for first place in the group in their second match on Monday. The winner should clinch a spot in the knockout stage. 

Meanwhile, England's hopes of advancing in the Euro largely lie on their Monday match against Russia, an affair that brings back familiar memories for both teams.

In the group stage of the 2009 Euro, England and Russia played after each team lost in the opener. Simply put, a lot was on the line and a loss would all but eliminate the English hopes. But they rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to win, 3-2, and it resulted in England reaching the final.

This time around, that amount of pressure should be back on England as they look to avoid two straight losses and effectively end Russia's hopes of advancing in this year's Euro.


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