Dejan Lovren has been given a one-match ban by UEFA for comments made on social media following Croatia's Nations League win over Spain.

Spain coach Luis Enrique believes there is no doubt about the quality possessed by Isco despite the playmaker's recent struggles at Real Madrid under Santiago Solari.

Isco has found himself out of favour since Solari replaced Julen Lopetegui at the end of October and is yet to start for the new coach in LaLiga.

The 5-1 Clasico embarrassment against Barcelona – Lopetegui's last game in charge – was Isco's most recent start in the league, with the Spain international having to accept a substitute role ever since.

Isco's situation has been of particular interest to the Spanish media, with Solari routinely asked about the midfielder's lack of football in his news conferences.

He was also only used as a second-half replacement in Wednesday's 3-1 Club World Cup semi-final win over Kashima Antlers, but Luis Enrique is not concerned from a Spain perspective.

"We are in December and three months before my next selection, so I do not worry about any situation," he told reporters at an awards gala held in tribute to Barca and Sporting Gijon icon Quini.

"I like him [Isco] a lot. At the World Cup, he was at a very high level and there is never any debate about his quality.

"His condition and minutes will indicate the possibilities, but I have called him every time, so rather than my words, look at my facts."

It still hasn’t sunk it yet for Stephanie Yee Sing, the history she created on December 1, 2018, in Montevideo, Uruguay.

England need to start getting used to being favourites after being given a kind Euro 2020 qualification draw, according to manager Gareth Southgate.

Germany have been drawn against Netherlands in Group C for Euro 2020 qualifying.

Joachim Low's side lost 3-0 and drew 2-2 with Oranje in Group 1 as they were relegated in the inaugural Nations League and the two will lock horns again to reach the European Championship finals in two years' time.

They share Group C with Northern Ireland, Estonia and Belarus.

Reigning European champions Portugal will meet Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania and Luxembourg in Group B.

World Cup-winners France face Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova and Andorra in Group H, while Spain are in Group F alongside Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands and Malta.

England are in Group A with Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo.

Belgium, in Group I, face Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino, while Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia and Liechtenstein are in Group J.

Qualifiers begin on March 21 next year and run until November. The top two from each group will progress automatically to the finals, while four places will be up for grabs in play-offs, which take place in March 2020.

The play-offs are contested by the four group winners of each league of the Nations League, unless those teams earn an automatic spot through qualifying, in which case the play-off spot will go to the next-best-ranked side in the respective leagues.

These matches are one-off games, rather than two-legged ties.The highest-ranked teams will host each semi-final.

Andres Iniesta has accused Jose Mourinho of cultivating "hatred" between Real Madrid and Barcelona players during his time in LaLiga and says it led to "unbearable" tension within the Spain national team.

Mourinho spent three years in charge of Madrid after leaving Inter in 2010 and, during his reign, the Clasico rivalry became hugely bitter.

The most notable incident around a match occurred during a Supercopa de Espana clash in August 2011, when Mourinho appeared to poke Pep Guardiola's assistant Tito Vilanova in the eye amid a touchline fracas.

Mourinho then referred to Vilanova as "Pito" – Spanish slang for male genitalia – after the match, claiming he had no idea who Guardiola's assistant was, while Gerard Pique accused the Portuguese coach of "ruining Spanish football".

The majority of Spain's squad at the time came from Madrid and Barca and, although La Roja won Euro 2012 during Mourinho's Madrid stay, Iniesta has revealed the atmosphere became toxic thanks to the 'Special One'.

"You do not have to be from Barcelona or Real Madrid to know that this situation was unpleasant, and the key component in that story was Mourinho," Iniesta said on La Sexta's Salvados.

"You did not see it as a standard rivalry, it went beyond that. You saw hatred. That environment was cultivated, and it was unbearable.

"The Barca-Madrid tension provoked by Mourinho did a lot of damage to the national team and the team-mates."

Wolves defender Jonny Castro could miss the club's Premier League clash with Huddersfield Town after suffering an injury to his right knee while playing in Spain's 1-0 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The 24-year-old lasted 51 minutes of the friendly at Estadio de Gran Canaria before he was replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta and Spain's doctors said he required further tests to establish the extent of his injury.

Jonny has scored one goal in 12 appearances for Wolves during the newly promoted club's steady start to the Premier League season but could be ruled out of Nuno Espirito Santo's defensive options for the clash with David Wagner's struggling Terriers.

A statement from Spain's doctors said: "The pain is localised on the internal side, and the picture is compatible with a medial collateral ligament lesion that, although it is still to be defined, could be a grade II-III.

"MRI will be performed for diagnostic confirmation and other lesions will be ruled out."

Spain may not have qualified for the Nations League Finals but Luis Enrique is pleased with how his young side have progressed since their World Cup exit.

The former Barcelona coach took control of the national team from Fernando Hierro after Russia 2018 – Spain having lost Julen Lopetegui to Real Madrid on the eve of the tournament.

Victories in his opening two competitive matches put them in charge of their Nations League group with England and Croatia, however their fortunes turned.

A loss at home to England was followed by a 3-2 reverse in Zagreb, leaving Spain with no control over their own destiny.

England's 2-1 win over Croatia on Sunday saw them progress to the semi-finals of the competition, while Spain remain in League A after finishing second in the group.

But Luis Enrique was not too downhearted by that, and he sees plenty of positives despite an unconvincing 1-0 friendly win over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday.

"Obviously we would have liked to have been in the final four, it seemed that we had it on track after the first two games but it is one of the most difficult groups," he said.

"We lost our chance in Seville [against England] and in Zagreb.

"I make a positive assessment of the six matches that we have had, I already knew that the players could not give me everything I have asked for but I am delighted with the attitude of them all.

"I am happy and satisfied."

Sunday's win in Las Palmas saw Luis Enrique ring the changes and put his faith in Spain's youngsters, but it was his stand-in captain Isco who particularly impressed.

"He is a different player," he said of the Real Madrid midfielder. "He is decisive, with great quality and a praiseworthy attitude.

"The captain's armband is anecdotal because he had played the most matches. Isco has been leading teams for years in Madrid and for the national team, he did it in the World Cup."

Debutant Brais Mendez got Spain back to winning ways with a late strike in an unconvincing 1-0 friendly victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Gran Canaria.

Celta Vigo midfielder Mendez came off the bench in the second half and needed just 19 minutes to find the back of the net on Sunday, his strike coming after Ibrahim Sehic could only parry Isco's low drive.

Spain's margin of victory should have been wider but Alvaro Morata's toils for La Roja continued as he skewed wide prior to Mendez's winning goal.

Victory ensures Spain finish 2018 on a positive note after successive defeats in the Nations League, England's 2-1 win over Croatia earlier in the day ending Luis Enrique's side's hopes of reaching next year's Finals.

Spain's inexperienced side survived an early scare when Edin Visca broke through in the opening minute, but the forward was denied by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

It was a rare moment in the attacking third for Bosnia as Spain dominated possession, although they were unable to turn it into clear-cut chances.

Suso, Marco Asensio and Isco all blazed over before the latter finally brought a save out of Sehic five minutes before the break, the goalkeeper comfortably holding onto the Real Madrid midfielder's low shot.

Chances continued to be at a premium until the hour when Asensio fired low towards goal and the rebound should have been put into the unguarded net by Morata but he somehow managed to fire wide.

It was his final action as Rodrigo Moreno replaced him soon afterwards, but it was another substitute who settled the clash as Mendez did what Morata could not with 12 minutes to play.

 

What does it mean? Still work to do for Luis Enrique

Spain made nine changes, with eight of Luis Enrique's starting line-up holding less than 10 caps, and their inexperience showed at times in what proved to be a low-key affair.

Isco leads from the front

In a team lacking senior figures it was 26-year-old Isco who led from the front with a strong display in midfield, his surging runs bringing rare moments of quality for the hosts.

Morata's problems show no sign of ending

Morata's troubles in front of goal have been well documented and his failure to score on Sunday means he has gone over a year without finding the net for Spain.

What's next?

With their Nations League campaigns over, both teams will turn their attention to the draw for the 2020 European Championship qualifiers in December.

Luis Enrique has branded criticism of David de Gea "unfair" but declined to reveal whether the under-pressure goalkeeper will remain a starter for Spain.

De Gea was closely scrutinised for his part in Tin Jedvaj's late winner in the costly 3-2 defeat to Croatia in the Nations League on Thursday.

The Manchester United man is struggling to find form on the international stage, saving less than half of the shots he has faced since the start of La Roja's disappointing World Cup campaign.

Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga is reportedly under consideration to step in for the friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday.

Luis Enrique would not confirm which way he was leaning, but defended De Gea's concerning recent record.

"What's strange is what the criticism means. Criticism must be for the whole team and the coach, too," he told reporters.

"When it's aimed at one person it's unfair because this is a team sport.

"Goals aren't just scored because of the goalkeepers – when we concede we're all responsible. It's unfair to personalise it, but we accept criticism.

"I won't put my players on trial. I analyse things in a general sense and from there I make decisions.

"I won't talk about my preferences, as my actions speak louder than words."

The other goalkeeping option in Luis Enrique's squad is Real Betis' Pau Lopez.

Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic will hold talks with Dejan Lovren following the defender's social media taunting of Sergio Ramos.

Liverpool centre-back Lovren was filmed in an Instagram video appearing to boast about elbowing Ramos in Croatia's dramatic Nations League win over Spain on Thursday.

The pair have been at odds since Spain's 6-0 thumping of the World Cup finalists in September, during which Lovren felt his team had been disrespected.

The former Southampton man later claimed the Real Madrid captain was made to look good by his team-mates and doubled down on his criticism after the 3-2 victory in Zagreb, labelling Luis Enrique's side "p*****s" and accusing them of lacking grace in defeat.

Dalic confirmed he would speak with Lovren, but would not discuss the likely nature of the conversation.

"I will talk personally with Dejan but that will stay between us in the squad," he said.

"I do not want to speak publicly about it."

Croatia meet England at Wembley on Sunday with both sides seeking the three points that would seal their place in the Nations League Finals.

Lovren, who considers himself among the finest defenders in the world, is expected to be tasked with the tough job of marking Harry Kane.

Asked whether his regular Premier League opponent or Madrid star Ramos was the better player, the England captain declined to fan the flames of the rivalry.

"That's not for me to compare the two," Kane said. "Obviously, I think Ramos' record speaks for itself, the amount of trophies he's won, the amount of big games he's played.

"Of course Lovren is another fantastic defender and I look forward to going up against him tomorrow.

"It's a matter of opinion, obviously [Lovren] has his opinion. Some players are more outspoken than others, but from my point of view it's not to judge them but focus on myself and my team."

Dejan Lovren doubled down on his taunting of Sergio Ramos and accused Spain of being sore losers following Croatia's crucial Nations League victory.

Lovren mocked Ramos in the lead up to the match, claiming the Real Madrid captain is made to look better by team-mates, and took another swipe after Tin Jedvaj's stoppage-time goal secured a 3-2 win on Thursday.

The Liverpool man was filmed in an Instagram video calling his fellow defender and the Spain squad "p******", before uploading a picture of him beating Ramos in an aerial duel in a separate post.

Ramos had attempted to defuse the feud in a pre-game news conference, insisting he had no interest in responding to the initial criticism, but Lovren claimed Luis Enrique's side lacked class in defeat.

"We showed bigger balls than them," the 29-year-old told reporters after full-time.

"They were rude on the pitch, no fair play. We lost [the reverse fixture] 6-0 but were fair.

"Only [Alvaro] Morata congratulated us now. I've never experienced that and I am glad because they thought they were bigger than us and we proved them wrong."

Ramos picked up an adductor strain in Zagreb and will miss the upcoming friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Spain's only hope of topping Group 4 in Nations League A is if England draw with Croatia at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Zlatko Dalic said his Croatia bench were ready to run on the pitch to stop a Spain counter-attack before Tin Jedvaj struck a dramatic late winner in Thursday’s Nations League clash.

Jedvaj's second of the game, in the 93rd minute, secured a 3-2 victory in Zagreb to set up a winner-takes-all clash against England at Wembley on Sunday.

The victor will progress to the Nations League finals while the loser will be relegated from League A, with a draw sending pool leaders Spain through.

And Dalic, who led Croatia to the World Cup final after beating England in the semis, indicated he was prepared to take drastic action in the closing stages while his side poured forward in attack.

"It's an image that has to go into history: we are attacking with all players in the last minute," Dalic said after his side's win.

"It was a strange situation with two unmarked Spaniards in the centre. We were even ready to run out from the bench in order to prevent a possible Spanish counter-attack.

"I called and screamed, but no one wanted to go back. Everyone went in for a shot. It was about the character of the players, their power and strength."

Spain coach Luis Enrique complained the result was unfair, telling reporters: "Under no circumstances did we deserve to lose."

And Ivan Rakitic, who played under Luis Enrique at Barcelona, accepted Croatia rode their luck to snatch a 3-2 win.

"First of all, we have seen a great football match. The people in the stadium and at home have enjoyed a great game," Rakitic, who was replaced with an injury in the second half, said to Teledeporte. "The last goal came with a bit of luck and this victory gives strength to the group.

"When you play in such a group and you see the other groups, you realise that we did not have much luck in the draw, but this is the beautiful thing: now we have to play at Wembley and fight to be first."

Captain Luka Modric denied pre-match that his side were out for revenge after a 6-0 thrashing against Spain in September, but he accepted Croatia wanted to right the wrongs of that loss.

"Of course we were motivated, especially because of the serious defeat in Elche, but the full stadium was our second important motive," Modric said. "Such a great atmosphere raised us, especially at the critical stages of the game, and I believe that such support will now become a tradition.

"Players who came from the bench brought new energy, an extra dimension, and we need it. They showed that they belong in the national team and will surely continue to grow in the coming games. We have to have a good rest, [it will be] a fast match with England, it will be hard again against an excellent rival, but I believe we will gather strength."

Croatia hero Tin Jedvaj believes his team may go into their blockbuster meeting with England as favourites after a thrilling win over Spain.

The full-back scored a brace, including a 93rd-minute winner, to guide Croatia to a 3-2 victory in Zagreb in the Nations League on Thursday.

It set up a huge clash against England on Sunday, with both nations needing a win to reach the finals and avoid relegation from League A.

Jedvaj backed his team to deliver at Wembley, saying Croatia had already proven a point against England with their win in the World Cup semi-finals.

"First of all, I want to congratulate all my team-mates, they gave all they had. They gave 100 per cent in every duel," the Bayer Leverkusen defender told UEFA.com.

"Before the game, we said that we only wanted a win. That was our approach, we played a very tough opponent that will for sure create chances in every match they play. I think we limited their chances to a minimum, but they always find a way to score.

"At the end, we had one goal more, which was enough to motivate us to go for a win in England.

"In Russia, we proved that we could beat them without any problems and that they aren't better than us. We might even be the favourites despite the fact that we are playing away. I don't know.

"They are England but we believe that we can win and end the group stage on top."

Sergio Ramos will not travel to Las Palmas for Spain's friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina after sustaining an adductor injury.

The Real Madrid centre-back was in discomfort during Thursday's 3-2 Nations League defeat again Croatia in Zagreb, a match in which he scored from the penalty spot.

Consequently, Spain announced on Twitter that Ramos will leave the squad ahead of Sunday's contest.

It remains to be seen if Ramos will be fit for Madrid's return to LaLiga action against Eibar on November 24, but his absence would cause another headache for head coach Santiago Solari.

Sergio Reguilon, Nacho Fernandez, Jesus Vallejo and Casemiro are already absent, while Marcelo, Dani Carvajal and Raphael Varane are also struggling with injury.

Spain's defeat means they must hope England and Croatia draw at Wembley on Sunday if Luis Enrique's men are to reach the last four of the Nations League.

 

 

 

 

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