Saturday 8th September 2018

Event of the Day: UEFA Nations League: England v Spain

Our event of the day is the UEFA Nations League match between England and Spain. The competition seeks to make international matches outside of major tournaments, such as the World Cup, more meaningful. The European national teams are split into four leagues, with teams competing in groups of three or four within each league. Each nation plays the teams in their group twice between September and November. There is a promotion and relegation system, as well as a final tournament, the Nations League Final in June. Croatia is the third member of England’s group. The young England team is looking to cement the reputation they garnered with a fourth-place finish at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Meanwhile, Spain will be looking to regain their prestige after a disappointing World Cup performance. The 2010 world champions left the tournament in the Round of 16, following a loss on penalties to tournament hosts Russia.
 
England will be without winger Raheem Stirling, who is reportedly suffering from a back injury. Stirling had a strong World Cup, boasting an 86.6% passing rate and providing one assist. He has also been impressive for Manchester City in the Premier League, scoring twice in three starts this season. Beyond Sterling’s absence, Southgate has kept eighteen of the twenty-three members of his World Cup squad. Notably, he has dropped defender Ashley Young in favour of his Manchester United teammate, Luke Shaw. Gary Cahill and Jamie Vardy will also absent, as both have requested they be removed from consideration for the international team. Harry Kane, coming off a Golden Boot winning performance at the World Cup, is expected to start as England’s key striker. In the Spanish camp, Diego Costa has withdrawn from the national squad, citing personal reasons. His replacement, Iago Aspas, has history with England, having scored in the teams’ last meeting, a 2-2 draw in 2016. Overall, manager Luis Enrique has made thirteen changes from the World Cup roster. He has replaced most of the midfield and added more options in the forward position. With a chance to top their Nations League group at stake, this is set to be an exciting start to a promising new competition. 
 

Honourable mentions around the globe go to the women’s final of the US Open. 17th seed Serena Williams faces 20th seed Naomi Osaka at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. Williams is looking for her first grand slam title since giving birth last year, and a record-equalling 24th singles title overall. Meanwhile, Osaka is the first Japanese woman to reach a Grand Slam final. It promises to be a final to remember. In MLB, the New York Yankees travel to Safeco Field to face the Seattle Mariners, who are fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Tour of Britain enters its 7th stage, where riders face a 223km ride between West Bridgford and Mansfield. In horse racing, the 32 Red Cup takes place at Haydock Park in Merseyside. In Australia, the AFL sees an exciting second qualification final at Optus Stadium between the West Coast Eagles and Collingwood. The NRL also sees playoff action, with the Sydney Roosters taking on the Cronulla Sharks at Allianz Stadium. 

Whatever you’re watching, enjoy! 

Fixture 

Photos by The FA; UEFA

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