SportSoccer

Late Spain surge snatches draw at Wembley

Isco slams home the late equaliser for Spain
Isco slams home the late equaliser for Spain

England were caught cold by a late Spain comeback but a positive performance at the end of a turbulent year will have only strengthened Gareth Southgate's grip on the manager's job.

Few connected with the national team will look back at 2016 with any fondness as a handful of impressive performance were overshadowed by the humiliating European Championship exit to Iceland.

England lurched from one crisis to another as Roy Hodgson's successor Sam Allardyce left after a mere 67 days, but interim manager Southgate has steadied the ship impressively and looked crestfallen after Isco secured Spain a 2-2 draw deep into stoppage-time.

Adam Lallana's early penalty and the end of Jamie Vardy's goal drought had brought a smile to those inside a sold-out Wembley, producing football which will have pleased those in the top echelons of the Football Association.

Such a positive display on top of Friday's 3-0 win against oldest foes Scotland surely makes Southgate a shoo-in for the job full-time, although the closing stages underlined the work that remains.

Many inside Wembley applauded Liverpool flop Iago Aspas' stunning 90th-minute strike, but the overriding feeling was dejection as substitute Isco slotted a last-gasp equaliser.