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Del Bosque frustrated by friendly defeat

The 64-year-old saw his side lose for a second consecutive game against Holland following on from their World Cup thrashing last summer

Vicente Del Bosque rued Spain’s profligacy in front of goal as Netherlands inflicted a 2-0 defeat on his side in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

The European champions have begun to show the form expected of them in recent Euro 2016 qualifying matches, however they have now not won a friendly match since June.

Goals from Stefan De Vrij and Davy Klaassen inside 16 minutes secured victory for Guus Hiddink’s side, while goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer was on hand to deny Spain on the rare occasions they tested the Dutch goal.

“The first 20 minutes have burdened us,” said Del Bosque. “It seems impossible we wouldn’t score.

“We have taken command of the game, we’ve been all over them and have reached the penalty area, but we lacked a goal.”

The 64-year-old handed first appearances to Juanmi and Vitolo after their impressive club form, and Del Bosque was pleased with what he saw.

“The two rookies have had good performances,” he added. “Vitolo has been very active and Juanmi looked like scoring.”

Spain were beaten 5-1 by Holland at last summer’s World Cup before exiting the competition at the group stage.

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Hodgson hails 'outstanding' Barkley

The Three Lions boss believes the 21-year-old’s bravery was key to his side getting back into the game while he also had praise for Andros Townsend and Michael Carrick

England manager Roy Hodgson has hailed Ross Barkley as an “outstanding talent” after the Everton midfielder’s impressive cameo against Italy.

The 21-year-old replaced Theo Walcott after 55 minutes in Turin and shone as the Three Lions stretched their unbeaten run to nine matches with a 1-1 draw.

And Hodgson was full of praise for Barkley as well as goalscorer Andros Townsend after their excellent showings off the bench.

“He [Barkley] was fantastic. Both he and Townsend turned the game,” he told ITV Sport.

“I thought Barkley in particular was really, really good. Very brave, very courageous. He’s prepared to get on the ball all the time, to take people on. He really is an outstanding young talent.

“I’ve also go to say a word about Andros. He’s come on and when we’ve needed someone to do something a little bit special, he’s come up with the goods.”

England captain Wayne Rooney admitted that another substitute, Michael Carrick, had been the best player on the pitch, and Hodgson agreed that the Manchester United midfielder helped his side get back into the game.

The former Liverpool boss did, however, have to defend his decision to start with Phil Jones in midfield ahead of Carrick, explaining that he just wanted to experiment during the friendly encounter.

“Michael did very well. That’s Michael’s position. We decided to experiment in the first half – give Phil Jones a go in there. He did very well defensively,” he added.

Of course we do miss people like Carrick and [Jack] Wilshere and their ability on the ball to make us tick, to get our passing going. It was a bit of an experiment but we’ve got to do that in these games.

“The second half we had good control of the game and we played well and created some good chances.

“It was a very disappointing first half. The atmosphere in the game was dead. Both teams were guilty of falling into a practice match atmosphere. There was very little injection of pace so at half-time we weren’t very satisfied with that.

“Second half we got back to the standard – we’re setting high standards now – I thought we matched those second half.”

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LIVE: Argentina vs Ecuador

Lionel Messi, who missed the El Salvador game due to swelling in his right knee, will not start tonight. Federico Mancuello, after scoring on his senior debut in that match, will begin on the left for Argentina, with Sergio Aguero leading the line. It’s an entirely new XI from Tata Martino in this game.

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Stagnant England prove the FA would be foolish to hand Hodgson a new deal

The Three Lions’ 1-1 draw with Italy in Turin on Tuesday night highlighted why the manager should not be offered a new contract in the immediate future

GOALCOMMENT    By Greg Stobart     Follow on Twitter

England kept their revival on track with a 1-1 friendly draw with Italy in Turin, but in doing so produced a performance that should dismiss any notion of handing Roy Hodgson a new contract before the end of Euro 2016.

Wayne Rooney last week called for the Football Assocation to extend Hodgson’s contract as England manager for “a few more years” and the call has been backed by several team-mates with the Three Lions now unbeaten in eight matches since last summer’s World Cup.

Yet this game showed why the FA would be foolish to back the former Liverpool boss until he has shown progress where it really matters.

The first-half display served as a stark reminder that less than a year ago England were embarrassed in Brazil as they produced their worst performance in a World Cup finals since 1958.

Yes, England were hit by several squad withdrawals due to injury and both sides used the game at Juventus Stadium to experiment.

Once again, though, the Three Lions floundered against one of the better teams and their passing, tactical understanding and movement were dreadful in the opening period.

Hodgson picked a strange starting line-up, with the deployment of Phil Jones as a defensive midfielder particularly baffling. The Manchester United man never looked comfortable on the ball and allowed Giorgio Chiellini to cross far too easily for Graziano Pelle’s headed opener in the 29th minute.

There were times when it felt as though Jones, Fabian Delph and Nathaniel Clyne were in competition to see who could waste the most passes and put their team on the backfoot.

Having proven indisputably in recent months that his best position remains as a striker, Rooney was asked to play in the midfield role in which he failed to make any impact for his club earlier in the season.

The midfield diamond failed to sparkle, with players appearing unaware of their tactical roles and a glaring lack of width was evident. England’s recent success has come from stretching the pitch and using the skill and speed of their attackers.

It was another stodgy, dour performance under a manager with a reputation for being cautious and defensively minded rather than a risk-taker who lets his players express themselves.

Unfortunately, England can’t play Lithuania every week and they were found wanting for long periods against an intelligent Italy team.

It is the same old problem. Qualification for major tournaments has never been an issue – it’s what England do once they get there and have to face the better teams.

Italy, of course, knocked England out of Euro 2012 and beat Hodgson’s men in Manaus last summer.

For a long time, it looked like they would do it again in Turin. Only when Michael Carrick came on did England start to keep the ball and build any sort of rhythm or sustained pressure.

While Harry Kane dominated the pre-match talk, it was another Tottenham player who spared England’s blushes as substitute Andros Townsend hammered in a superb equaliser with his weaker right foot 11 minutes from time.

Expectations have fallen so low surrounding the national team that barely any questions were raised over Hodgson’s future last summer.

But surely the bar has not dropped so low that he should be rewarded for an eight-match unbeaten streak that includes victories against the mighty San Marino, Estonia, Slovenia and Lithuania.

Greg Dyke, the FA chairman, has suggested that talks over Hodgson’s future will take place “in the next months to a year” with the 67-year-old’s contract expiring next summer.

Hodgson has named some brave and exciting squads and supporters have been encouraged by the young talent available.

But he has yet to produce any evidence that he has the tactical nous to set England up to outplay and beat the best sides.

His next real opportunity will be in France at Euro 2016. Only after that can the FA make any judgement on whether Hodgson is the right man to lead England forward in the coming years.

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Booing Iniesta's a disgrace – Hiddink

The midfielder was jeered by Netherlands fans in Spain’s friendly because of his winning goal against them in the 2010 World Cup final

Netherlands boss Guus Hiddink said it was a “disgrace” that Spain star Andres Iniesta was booed by Holland supporters in Tuesday night’s friendly.

The Oranje ran out 2-0 winners thanks to two first half goals from Stefan de Vriij and Davy Klaassen, which eased the pressure on the veteran coach.

Iniesta started on the bench as Spain boss Vicente del Bosque opted for an experimental starting XI but was introduced in the 76th minute to a chorus of boos from fans at the Amsterdam ArenA.

The midfielder scored the winning goal in la Roja’s 1-0 win over Netherlands in the final of the 2010 World Cup but Hiddink said that was no excuse to heckle him from the stands.

“It’s a disgrace,” he told reporters. “He’s a world class player and a wonderful person. At first I didn’t notice it was about him. Was it because of his goal vs Netherlands in 2010?

“It’s unbelievable, this is about sport. What was he supposed to do? I can’t understand this.”

Regarding the importance of the result in relieving pressure surrounding his position, the 68-year-old added: “I don’t have the feeling that there is pressure on my shoulders.

“I don’t want to fight against the media any more, I just want to stay focused on football. There are always stories in the press.

“I saw a Netherlands squad that had the guts to play football. Although we made some mistakes, I thought we were pretty good.

“These mistakes are a good lessons for our players because you can’t make these against Spain. Luckily they didn’t punish us. Kenneth Vermeer saved us a few times and I thought Daley Blind and Klaassen played very well.”

Wesley Sneijder – who delivered the cross for De Vrij’s opener – refused to be drawn into a discussion over Hiddink.

“I don’t want to talk about the coach,” he added. “We’re in this together and that’s what I said on Saturday. He didn’t walk away from his responsibilities and we have beaten a top squad and now we need to look ahead.

“If you look at the way we started the match, it’s not surprising that we won. We knew it would be a hard match. In front of a full stadium we wanted to make up for the match versus Turkey and we did.

“Fear is a too big of a word, but we were a bit frightened. After the match versus Turkey, Spain are a very strong opponent, of course, but we had a great night.”

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