England picked up their first win in the UEFA Nations League as they beat Spain 3-2 at Benito Villamarin on Monday to end their 15-year unbeaten record on home soil.
England gave the ball away on a few occasions in the first half, but Spain failed to punish them due to poor decision-making in the final third.
Thiago went close for the hosts in the fourth minute with a first-time shot from the edge of the box that was deflected wide of the right post, before Jordan Pickford made a last-ditch block to deny Marcos Alonso at the back post from the resulting corner.
Marco Asensio could only toe-poke the ball straight to Pickford from just inside the area on the left in the ninth minute after Kieran Trippier was dispossessed, but the Three Lions silenced the home fans with the opener seven minutes later.
A swift move started with Pickford’s fine delivery to Kane, who controlled and turned to release Sterling through the middle, with the Manchester City winger finishing into the top-left corner of the net from 16 yards out.
Asensio found himself in a promising position inside the box on the left soon afterwards but skied his effort, while Thiago’s free-kick from the left was spilled by Pickford on 23 minutes, although the visitors managed to clear their lines.
The 2018 World Cup semi-finalists withstood more pressure on 29 minutes as Pickford comfortably dealt with Thiago’s strike from range, and they caught the Spaniards cold moments later to score again.
Kane threaded Rashford in behind the defence with a fine pass and the striker beat Manchester United team-mate David de Gea from 10 yards out.
The Tottenham ace had a hand in the third goal as well on 38 minutes as he teed up Sterling for a simple finish from close range after latching onto Ross Barkley’s neat ball over the top.
Alonso made contact with the ball outside the area on the left in the 43rd minute, but Pickford watched his volley flash well wide of the far post, in what was the final action of the half.
Luis Enrique made a double change early in the second half and one of his substitutes made an immediate impact as Alcacer ghosted into space at the near post to head home an in-swinging corner from the right on 58 minutes.
Pickford was fortunate to stay on the pitch when he pulled back Rodrigo inside the area on the right and made a last-ditch tackle after being caught dallying on the ball in the 64th minute. However, the referee waved away Spanish appeals for a penalty.
Enrique’s troops piled on the pressure in the closing stages as they chased a dramatic comeback, with Alcacer’s overhit cross from the left forcing Pickford into a save under his crossbar on 80 minutes, before Thiago drilled a shot narrowly wide of the near post from 20 yards out on the left two minutes later.
Asensio curled just wide of the other post from 20 yards out on 84 minutes, while Pickford survived another scare late four minutes later when he parried Jonny’s cross from the right into Alvaro Morata, who couldn’t react quickly enough to score from close range.
Alcacer threatened again as cleared the goal with a header from Asensio’s lofted cross on the right in stoppage time, before Alonso directed a header onto the crossbar from a deep cross.
But they did pull another one back in the sixth minute of added time when Ramos powered a header past Pickford from Dani Ceballos’ cross on the right.