England warmed up for their upcoming Nations League double-header by cruising to a 3-0 friendly win over the Republic of Ireland at Wembley.

Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho were on target in the first half of Thursday's encounter, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin's emphatic penalty completing a routine outing after the break.

Manager Gareth Southgate will now have plenty to think about after a strong showing from a number of England's fringe players prior to matches with Belgium and Iceland.

The visitors' hopes of earning a first ever Wembley win were dealt a blow when John Egan was forced off early on after taking a bang to the head.

Ireland probed with a couple of dangerous low crosses but England hit the front from a corner that resulted from Darren Randolph saving smartly from Bukayo Saka following an initial poor punch.

Harry Winks picked up the first clearance and stood up a cross for Maguire to power home with his head.

Calvert-Lewin then went close at the end of a slick move and Randolph saved from Maguire before the lively Jack Grealish fed Sancho, who lashed home England's second through the legs of Jeff Hendrick.

England picked up where they left off in the second half, pressing Ireland high before Saka was tripped in the box by Cyrus Christie.

And Calvert-Lewin made no mistake from the spot, hammering the ball into the top corner for the second goal of his short international career.

With the hosts in complete control late on, Southgate introduced Jude Bellingham from the bench, making him the third youngest England player of all-time.


What does it mean? Southgate given headache

The wisdom of playing these international friendlies has been questioned in recent weeks, but there is no doubt that Southgate learned more about the depth at his disposal this evening.

There is nothing better for a manager than to see fringe players stepping up in the absence of key men and that is exactly what happened for England here. Southgate is facing a very welcome headache.

Grealish makes case once again

It once felt like there was nothing Grealish could do to get into the England squad, but just two caps in he already looks a dead cert for inclusion in the Euros squad next summer. 

The Aston Villa man was influential again here, taking 50 touches, completing 88.9% of passes in the opposition half, and making two key passes - including the assist for Sancho's goal.

Idah isolated up top

Starting up front for the visitors at Wembley, Adam Idah would have hoped to make much more of an impact before his withdrawal in the 71st minute.

The 19-year-old touched the ball just 18 times, and won only one of his five duels.

What's next?

England travel to Belgium for a Nations League fixture on Sunday, while Ireland's next outing in the same competition sees them face Wales away from home.

Michy Batshuayi scored twice for Belgium as the number one FIFA-ranked team in the world laboured to a 2-1 win over Switzerland in a low-key international friendly.

Admir Mehmedi gave the Swiss the lead early on at the Den Dreef Stadion in Leuven with a crisp low finish past Belgium goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Batshuayi equalised for Belgium early in the second half with an angled finish after an intelligent pass from Youri Tielemans.

The 27-year-old striker then took his tally to 21 goals for Belgium, scoring his second of the game with a shot on the turn from close range to seal victory with 20 minutes left.

Spain defender Hector Bellerin struggled to accept being out of international football for such a long time.

The Arsenal right-back was called up to Spain's squad for the first time in four years after Sevilla's Jesus Navas was ruled out through injury.

He won the last of his three caps for La Roja in a friendly against Georgia in July 2016 and, although he made Spain's squad for Euro 2016, he did not feature at the tournament.

Bellerin, however, was given a recall by coach Luis Enrique for his side's friendly with the Netherlands plus the Nations League fixtures against Switzerland and Germany.

The 25-year-old has been one of Arsenal's most consistent performers this season and played every minute of their eight Premier League games.

He has made 12 interceptions and eight tackles with a success rate of 88 per cent in those matches, helping the Gunners to keep two clean sheets.

"Yes, I am so happy getting back home. It has been almost five years since the last time, so I am very happy," Bellerin said in an interview with the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

"They have been tough years, and they always are when you cannot join the national team, but I am very proud and happy now. I can't wait to start."

Another player thrilled to be recalled by Luis Enrique after a break is Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, who last featured for Spain just over two years ago.

Koke, 28, has not featured for Spain since a 4-1 friendly defeat of Wales in October 2018.

"I am very happy to be here again with the national team," Koke explained.

"It has been a long time, but I do have the same excitement that I had on my first day and I am looking forward to helping the team win the games."

Spain are top of Nations League Group A4 with seven points but saw their 13-game unbeaten run (W10 D3) in competitive matches ended last time out with a surprise 1-0 loss to Ukraine.

Left-back Jose Luis Gaya has warned his team-mates not to let any complacency seep into their forthcoming performances.

"It is true we are still first, and that gives us a little advantage. But we know how football is and everything can happen," added the Valencia defender.

"We need to try on winning all the games, that's what this jersey demands.

"Therefore, we cannot get relaxed and we have to face two official games plus the friendly one as they were finals."

Germany coach Joachim Low has ruled out international recalls for experienced Bayern Munich duo Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng plus Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels.

Low sent the three players into the international wilderness in March 2019 as he looked to build towards the future after Germany flopped at the 2018 World Cup.

Attacking midfielder Muller (100 caps), and defenders Boateng (76 caps) and Hummels (70 caps) boast 246 appearances for Germany between them and were all in the team that won the World Cup in 2014, but the trio are all over the age of 30.

Germany have qualified for Euro 2020 but their defence in particular has been shaky in recent games, shipping seven goals in their last three matches, leading to calls for Boateng and Hummels to be reconsidered.

However, Low has stated he will resist the urge to bring any of the trio back into the fold unless it was an emergency situation.

"We basically decided not to pick these players, nothing has changed that now," Low told Kicker.

"We can't go back now. They are great players with class.

"If a completely new situation arises for us next year due to the failure of key players, I will evaluate it accordingly and think about alternative scenarios." 

The manner in which three popular players, who are still integral to their club sides, have been jettisoned has helped fuel a growing discord between Germany's fans and the national team setup.

Oliver Bierhoff, the national team director of the German Football Association, has urged the country to unite and get behind Die Mannschaft again.

Germany host the Czech Republic in a friendly fixture on Wednesday before Nations League clashes against Ukraine and Spain.

"It hurts the way the young players are dealt with. A dark cloud is falling over the national team," ex-Germany striker Bierhoff said at a news conference on Monday.

"I am not interested in the criticism, but in the tonality and the mood that is conveyed in.

"We are no longer Germany's favourite child but the national team is still Germany's most important football team. Support and a positive spirit would help the boys."

Bierhoff claimed representing Germany is still important, and despite some star players earning vast salaries at club level they still sense when supporters of the national team are not behind them.

He added: "You have to be honest - when it comes to money and fame none of the players really need the national team.

"The boys earn a lot of money, but they are also people. It hurts that we no longer support and honour them. The boys really deserve our trust. The players want to be closer to the fans."

Miralem Pjanic has claimed he was offered the chance to represent France but it would have broken his heart to turn his back on Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Barcelona midfielder was born in Tuzla, in what was then Yugoslavia, before his family moved to Luxembourg shortly after the outbreak of the Bosnian War.

Pjanic represented Luxembourg's national youth teams during his formative years and signed for Metz at 14, later turning out for Lyon.

And it was while he was playing in Ligue 1 that he was telephoned by then France head coach Raymond Domenech about the prospect of declaring himself available for Les Bleus.

“Yes, I could have played for the France team when I arrived in Lyon, but I said a few days before that my dream was Bosnia," Pjanic, 30, told Canal Plus.

"Domenech called me, but I had already made up my mind. I thanked him of course, but I preferred to be realistic.

"For me, the France team, it was too much [to break into] at that time. And it would have hurt my heart if, on the other side, Bosnia was watching one of its own playing for the France team."

Pjanic, who joined Barca from Juventus in June, is currently preparing for Bosnia-Herzegovina's international friendly against Iran before Nations League matches against Netherlands and Italy.

Diego Simeone claimed Spain will benefit from Marcos Llorente's versatility as much as his Atletico Madrid side do.

The midfielder was given a first senior call-up by Spain coach Luis Enrique for a friendly against the Netherlands and Nations League clashes with Switzerland and Germany.

Simeone has used the 25-year-old in a variety of positions since he signed him in June 2019 from LaLiga rivals Real Madrid.

"We are happy with the arrival of Marcos to the national team," the Atletico head coach told a media conference on Friday.

"He is an all-round player, he can play anywhere on the pitch. He can play on the wing, as a second striker.

"He has height, speed and goals. Luis Enrique is going to meet a footballer who will offer him many resources.

"The team has a coach who will always look for what he sees is best for the team, along with the ideas he has and the way the footballers are.

"Marcos is going through a spectacular moment."

Atleti host Cadiz in LaLiga on Saturday having not lost in 12 meetings with the Andalusian side on home turf, with only one draw during this streak – a 0-0 back in May 1991.

Simeone's side are also unbeaten in their last 22 LaLiga matches (W13 D9), their best unbeaten run in the history of the competition and the longest currently of any team in the top five European leagues.

However, Cadiz have made a fine start to the current season and are behind fourth-placed Atletico on goal difference with 14 points, albeit having played two extra games.

With his side having battled to a 1-1 draw against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League during the week, Simeone is wary of the threat posed by Cadiz.

And he is especially concerned that his players will not have a crowd at the Wanda Metropolitano to encourage their tired legs towards the end of the game following a hectic period.

"Cadiz are a very strong away team that have won all four away games, very compact. I like their form and their collective work," Simeone added.

"At the end of the matches the absence of the public is noticeable because they cannot push in the final stages when the scores are tight. We miss our fans a lot."

Spain coach Luis Enrique had no hesitations in handing Alvaro Morata an international recall after claiming the forward has turned himself into a different player at Juventus.

Morata last played for Spain in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Romania last November, seemingly falling out of favour since.

But the 28-year-old re-joined Juventus on loan from Atletico Madrid in September, and an upturn in form has brought him six goals in seven games for the Bianconeri.

Morata has scored 17 times in 33 appearances for Spain since making his debut in November 2014, but his consistency at club level has been questioned in the past.

However, Luis Enrique has closely monitored Morata's performances at Juve and seen enough to warrant his return to the squad.

Spain face the Netherlands in a friendly on Wednesday, before Nations League clashes with Switzerland and Germany.

"I call on Morata because since he returned to Juventus, he is confident and his numbers indicate that," Luis Enrique told a media conference on Friday.

"You can see a different player with many aspects improved in attack and defence. It is always a pleasure to have Alvaro again.

"Those of us who are outside can appreciate that, in terms of confidence and performance, Morata in attack is better than previously."

Luis Enrique also named Atletico midfielder Koke in his squad after an international exile of just over two years.

Koke, 28, last played for Spain in a 4-1 friendly defeat of Wales in October 2018.

The coach continued: "I have always liked Koke, he is of a high level and as a person he's 10 out of 10. The midfield is my weakness and there is a lot of competition. We will ask him for other things."

With Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara absent due to injury, there was also a first senior call-up for Koke's Atletico team-mate Marcos Llorente, and Luis Enrique backed him to make an impact.

He added: "Llorente is a very complete player, I will ask him where he is most comfortable. He is very versatile.

"He has scored goals, [got] assists, is powerful, well-equipped technically. He is eager to see what he can offer us.

"There are players who are not included due to injury, but it opens up the opportunity to see others. It is an interesting situation for me, to prepare for three very interesting games."

Jack Grealish is a player in the mould of Paul Gascoigne but will struggle to dislodge the likes of Raheem Sterling from England's starting line-up, says ex-Three Lions boss Steve McClaren.

Aston Villa attacking midfielder Grealish made his first England start against Wales on Thursday and put on a man-of-the-match display in the 3-0 Wembley win.

One particular highlight was a gorgeous assist for debutant Dominic Calvert-Lewin to open the scoring in the 26th minute, while his general play on the ball was a real asset to England.

Grealish has also been influential for a Villa side who have won three from three in the top flight this season, scoring with each of his three shots on target, while he became the first player to have a hand in five goals in a Premier League match when his side thrashed champions Liverpool 7-2.

But still he has struggled to make the breakthrough on the international stage under Gareth Southgate and McClaren says the 25-year-old has to keep earning the trust of the manager as he offers the team something others in the squad do not.

"What a performance, he's really matured. He's the focal point of the Aston Villa team, he needs good players around him, and what Aston Villa have bought this season is good players," McClaren told Stats Perform News. 

"You saw him link up with [Ross] Barkley at the weekend against Liverpool and play two exquisite passes which no one else could play and see and we haven't got that type of midfield player, striker, creative player.

"We haven't had it for a long time, that Gazza type, he is that type.

"Yes he can frustrate at times, but he produces now, he's got end product, he can score, he can assist and it showed in the goal that Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored.

"So, I think he was a major plus. He's got to gain the trust of the manager that's the most important thing, and if he does that he should be in the England team because with good players around him he becomes a better player."

However, McClaren feels Grealish will have trouble nailing down a starting spot, particularly when Manchester City forward Sterling is fit again, due to Southgate's preference for pace in attacking positions. 

"Unfortunately, no [I don't think he'll be in the team]," he added. "Because when you play as you do, 3-4-3 or a 4-3-3, Gareth has gone for speed in the wide areas.

"He's looking at [Jadon] Sancho, Sterling, at [Marcus] Rashford, [Mason] Greenwood – he's looking at speed. 

"Jack hasn't got speed, he's got dribbling ability, he can glide by players, he can see a pass, he doesn't give it away, he can create, he can see things, so he's a different type of player, a different type of wide player. 

"Jack will be useful in terms of being on the bench and when you're 1-0 down or we need to win a game, bring Jack on because he can cause defences havoc whether he plays eight, 10, 11 or seven. 

"He'll cause problems, so he's a tremendous asset to have on the bench or in the squad. But there's still a long way to go before Jack Grealish becomes a permanent England player, still a lot to do."

McClaren was not surprised it took Grealish so long to earn a call-up to the national team, citing a lack of positional discipline during his formative years and the fact he is a "luxury player".

He likened the situation to the one experienced with Joe Cole when assistant to Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"He was a luxury player and you can't have luxury players, at Aston Villa you can't have a luxury players," McClaren said. 

"Sometimes it takes a while to mature and bring great discipline into your game, a lot of people talk about Gazza and the likes of Joe Cole and Joe Cole was exactly the same. 

"We used to play Joe Cole out wide, and he'd say 'why am I playing out wide?' And we'd say 'because Sven doesn't trust you playing in the number 10 because when we lose the ball we need some discipline to that and some shape'.

"By default he's had the opportunity and the key with everything, in the relationship between the manager and the player, is trust and obviously trust takes a long time to build up. 

"Especially in international football, you have to trust a player to do that job. Now he's started the process." 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's goals have taken his game to another level and the Everton striker can reflect on an "excellent" England debut, says Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.

England cruised past Wales 3-0 in Thursday's friendly at Wembley, Calvert-Lewin marking his international bow with a first-half header to make it 10 goals in seven appearances for club and country this season.

Conor Coady and Danny Ings also celebrated first international goals in a game which saw several players did their chances of further opportunities no harm, given this was England's most inexperienced XI since 1980.

Asked about Calvert-Lewin's performance, Southgate told ITV: "Yeah, excellent, I thought really very good. 

"He had excellent presence, his runs were a threat, he presses well, he obviously took his goal well, so I thought he could be really pleased.

"I think he's in a really good vein of form, he's an all-round centre-forward. I've always liked his general play but it's the goals that he's adding now that are making another level of player."

Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish was also handed a first England start and produced a delicious assist for Calvert-Lewin in an enterprising display.

Asked if Grealish has now jumped the queue in England's plans, Southgate said: "I thought his work with the ball was very good. 

"We know he draws those fouls, he's comfortable receiving in tight areas. I thought it was a debut he could be really pleased with."

England were troubled at times by Wales prior to Calvert-Lewin's 26th-minute opener but Southgate was content with the way his side grew into the match.

"I think the players did very well, it's so difficult for almost a completely new team to come together with not a lot of experience around it, so I thought they coped with that very well," he said. 

"It wasn't fluid at the start but the longer the game went on they got more and more into the game, solved the tactical problem Wales posed us when they were pressing and I thought we finished very strongly."

Belgium's 12-game winning streak came to an end as Franck Kessie's late penalty secured a 1-1 draw for Ivory Coast at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Thursday.

Red Devils boss Roberto Martinez shuffled his pack ahead of the Nations League double header against England and Iceland, opting not to start the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.

The much-changed starting XI struggled against Patrice Beaumelle's side in the first half but they forged ahead early in the second courtesy of Michy Batshuayi's 19th international goal.

They were denied yet another win three minutes from time, though, with Kessie clipping home from 12 yards after Wilfried Zaha had been brought down inside the area.

Belgium were more dangerous in the opening exchanges, with Brighton and Hove Albion forward Leandro Trossard looking particularly sharp on his first international start.

Chances were few and far between during a tepid opening 45 minutes, with Batshuayi's blocked shot from Trossard's pullback the closest either side came to taking the lead.

The on-loan Crystal Palace striker was not to be denied eight minutes after the restart, slotting home from close range after his initial effort from Alexis Saelemaekers' cross had been kept out by Sylvain Gbohouo.

Substitute goalkeeper Hendrik van Crombrugge was called into action soon after, though, keeping out Nicolas Pepe's close-range effort from Zaha's cross.

Zaha was instrumental to his side's late equaliser, teasing a foul out of substitute Sebastiaan Bornauw inside the area to give Kessie the opportunity to nonchalantly lift the ball into Van Crombrugge's top-right corner and ensure the game ended all square.

What does it mean? Understudies' lack of experience proves costly

Belgium's second-string had acquitted themselves admirably for 87 minutes and looked set to extend their winning streak to a lucky 13. Bornauw - just 10 minutes into his international debut - endured a moment to forget, though. Watching from the sidelines, the Red Devils' elder statesmen will have shaken their heads disapprovingly.

Batshuayi leads from the front

Batshuayi certainly lived up to his status as one of the starting XI's most experienced players. The 27-year-old was a handful for Ivory Coast's defence throughout and had five shots on goal, four more than any other Belgium player.

Doku fails to make his mark

On just his second start for the national team, Jeremy Doku struggled to make an impact. The 18-year-old failed to have a shot and completed just 18 passes before he was hauled off for Divock Origi with more than 20 minutes remaining.

What's next?

Belgium take on England at Wembley on Sunday before travelling to Iceland three days later, while Ivory Coast face another friendly clash with Japan in the Netherlands on Tuesday.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin grasped his opportunity on debut as an inexperienced England side defeated Wales 3-0 in Thursday's friendly encounter at Wembley.

With captain Harry Kane rested and Tammy Abraham one of three players alongside Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell absent for breaching coronavirus protocol rules, Calvert-Lewin was selected by Gareth Southgate to lead the line.

The in-form Everton striker headed home from Jack Grealish's sublime cross before Conor Coady doubled the lead eight minutes after the break.

Danny Ings then celebrated his first international goal, marking the first time three England players all scored a maiden goal in the same game since 1963, as the Three Lions completed a clinical if not textbook performance ahead of tougher assignments.

An England XI boasting just 54 appearances – the lowest since 1980 – started nervily and Kieffer Moore dragged a volley wide after a poor headed clearance from debutant Bukayo Saka.

But Calvert-Lewin marked a fine England bow by nodding home from six yards in the 26th minute when Jack Grealish, making his first Three Lions start, hung up a peach of a cross after tying Ethan Ampadu in knots.

The lead was doubled when Kieran Trippier – who became England's 123rd skipper in the absence of Kane – produced a fine free-kick that Coady expertly half-volleyed past Wayne Hennessey from close range.

Wales had no way back just after the hour when Tyrone Mings headed a corner back across the face of goal for Southampton striker Ings to steer acrobatically home with a lovely overhead effort.

Hennessey made a couple of smart stops to deny Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Ings late on to ensure no further damage for Wales.


What does it mean? England have striker options

For a long time, Kane has been England's solitary go-to up front but the form of Calvert-Lewin and more minutes and a maiden international goal for a revitalised Ings means Southgate now has plenty of striking options.

Dominic Calvert-shoe-in?

Calvert-Lewin has been in sublime form for Premier League leaders Everton this term and now has 10 goals in seven appearances for club and country. This was a deserved opportunity and if he continues in this form, he surely is a certainty for future squads.

Giggs' case for the defence crumbles

Wales boss Ryan Giggs will have been encouraged by a first half in which Wales caused England issues, particularly Cardiff City striker Moore who went off injured towards the end of the opening 45 minutes. But usually consistent full-back Ben Davies, who lost possession 12 times, was not always at the races and centre-back pairing Chris Mepham and Joe Rodon gave England's forwards far too much space.

What's next?

England now move onto Nations League Group A2 fixtures with Belgium and Denmark, while Wales face the Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria in Group B4 over the coming week.

A friendly match between the England and Scotland Under-19 sides was abandoned on Thursday after Scottish head coach Billy Stark tested positive for coronavirus.

The Football Association initially confirmed the game was halted in the first half "in line with COVID-19 protocol", with the teams then returning to their dressing rooms at St George's Park when England were leading 3-1.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) later revealed that Under-19s boss Stark, 63, had returned a positive test.

A statement from the SFA read: "The Under-19s squad and backroom team all delivered negative COVID-19 tests on Sunday to enable them to play in today's [Thursday] match against England.

"Three players based in England joined up with the squad yesterday [Wednesday] – and they and the rest of the squad were tested again with a view to Sunday's second match.

"The three players had been in isolation and had no contact with anyone else. Nonetheless, despite testing negative during Sunday's test, the head coach, Billy Stark, returned a positive test for COVID-19 this afternoon.

"The result of the second test was immediately relayed to the under-19 team manager and the game was abandoned immediately, in line with established COVID-19 protocol.

"Billy will now travel home in isolation and will self-isolate for 10 days. The playing group and the rest of the backroom team will undertake precautionary self-isolation for 14 days, whilst the Scottish Government undertakes a formal risk assessment to assess who Stark was in close contact with during the camp."

The senior England side face Wales in a friendly at Wembley later on Thursday, with Scotland taking on Israel in a Euro 2020 play-off semi-final.

A friendly match between the England and Scotland Under-19 sides was abandoned on Thursday following a coronavirus concern.

An unnamed member of one of the teams' backroom staff reportedly returned a positive test for COVID-19.

The Football Association confirmed the game was halted in the first half "in line with COVID-19 protocol", with the teams then returning to their dressing rooms at St George's Park.

England were leading 3-1 at the time.

The senior England side face Wales in a friendly at Wembley later on Thursday, with Scotland taking on Israel in a Euro 2020 play-off semi-final.

Kepa Arrizabalaga is feeling confident within the Spain squad after putting aside his struggles at Premier League giants Chelsea for the time being.

Kepa became the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he joined Chelsea from LaLiga outfit Athletic Bilbao for a reported £71.6million (€80m) two years ago.

However, the 26-year-old's unreliable form in the past year saw his place come under threat and he has now seemingly been usurped as Chelsea's number one goalkeeper by new signing Edouard Mendy.

Kepa played in Spain's 0-0 friendly draw with Portugal on Wednesday and produced a confident display, gathering a few set-pieces and making a fine late save from Trincao.

Afterwards, Kepa admitted to a sense of ease with the national team due to the faith shown in him by Spain head coach Luis Enrique.

"I've felt confidence, at ease. I think it was a good game and I'm happy with the confidence of the coach," he told Teledeporte.

"When I'm needed to help on the pitch, I try to do the best possible."

"It was a game of great intensity. [We had] more control in the first half. In the second, we found it more difficult to control Portugal's transitions. It was a good test.

"We have to be happy. We stood up today. We have to improve because we conceded a few clear chances, which you can pay for in a tournament."

Spain controlled the first half but Portugal were by far the more threatening in the second in Lisbon.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Renato Sanches each struck the underside of the crossbar with thunderous efforts and Joao Felix should have won the match late on, the Atletico Madrid star failing to turn in Ruben Semedo's glancing header.

"We started better, but as the game progressed, we lost control," striker Rodrigo Moreno told Teledeporte.

"The draw isn't an unfair result. The pace dropped as the match progressed. We had little time to train, [and] the games are very demanding.

"We have to give a little more to keep on this good path. We have to keep working and be protagonists with the ball."

Spain and Portugal played out an entertaining 0-0 friendly draw on Wednesday in a warm-up match for the next round of Nations League games.

Luis Enrique's men controlled the first half in Lisbon but had the crossbar to thank for keeping Cristiano Ronaldo and Renato Sanches at bay in the second half.

Each side experimented with their line-ups as a handful of players won their first senior caps, including Wolves winger Adama Traore, who nearly set up Dani Olmo for a winner.

Rui Patricio made three saves in the opening 17 minutes, his best a second-minute block from Gerard Moreno after he spun into space from Olmo's pass.

Such was Spain's control in the first 40 minutes that Ronaldo had only one touch of the ball in their penalty area, as Portugal failed to muster a shot on target.

They did let their guards down just before the break, though, Raphael Guerreiro blasting a half-volley over the bar and Ronaldo sending a tricky header wide from Joao Moutinho's free-kick.

Ronaldo was inches from breaking the deadlock early in the second half, smashing a shot off the underside of Kepa Arrizabalaga's crossbar from the edge of the area.

Portugal must have wondered whether the woodwork was cursed when Ronaldo played in Sanches, who thundered a half-volley at goal only to see it bounce off the bar, onto the line and away.

Substitute Traore cut the ball back for Olmo to fire straight at Patricio, before Kepa was at last called into action, saving well at the feet of Trincao after a good run from Joao Felix.

Portugal should have snatched the win in injury time too, Felix failing to turn the ball into the net after Ruben Semedo's glancing header.

 

What does it mean? Strikerless Spain looking sharp

Luis Enrique made it clear before the game that a lack of obvious options in the number nine role was not a particular concern for him.

He will certainly have been impressed with the way his makeshift line-up created several first-half openings before the game rather quietened down after the hour mark.

Portugal, who similarly fielded a weakened side, will consider this a good work-out before facing world champions France.

Late-bloomer Canales looks right at home

Spain's central midfield is an imposing place to be, but Sergio Canales was cool and accomplished here, misplacing just one of 53 passes and winning each of his two duels in a 62-minute outing.

Thiago Alcantara and Fabian Ruiz might be first choice alongside Sergio Busquets, but Canales - who is 29 and only made his Spain debut last year - looks worthy of such esteemed company.

Santos should consider striker-free approach

Portugal were under Spain's control in a first half in which centre-forward Andre Silva only touched the ball 13 times. When he was replaced by Bernardo Silva at half-time and Fernando Santos set up a more fluid forward line, the home side looked threatening every time they went forward.

Food for thought, perhaps.

What's next?

The next round of Nations League matches beckons this weekend. Spain host Switzerland on Saturday, with Portugal heading to France on Sunday.

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