Striker Marcus Rashford scored a second-half winner as a young and much-changed England avoided an unprecedented fourth successive defeat by beating Switzerland 1-0 in a friendly on Tuesday.
It was Rashford’s fifth goal for England in 27 matches, and second in the space of days after he also scored against Spain in the 2-1 Nations League defeat at Wembley last Saturday.
The World Cup semi-finalists, who made nine changes to the starting line-up, provided few thrills in a first half controlled by the more flowing Swiss but were much sharper after the break.
“Everybody voiced their opinion at halftime and in the second half we took control,” man-of-the-match Danny Rose told Sky Sports television.
“Definitely a few words spoken between the boys,” said the Leicester City player. “All of us, we weren’t happy with the performance at halftime. We gave them a little too much respect with the ball.”
Manager Gareth Southgate altered the shape after the break, moving the defence higher up the pitch while the players did a better job of keeping possession.
Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell also came off the bench, making his England debut at his home Premier League ground to loud applause.
Switzerland had their chances in the first half, with Xherdan Shaqiri hitting the outside of the post from inside the box after seven minutes.
“We had a tactical problem to sort out and so many lads who were playing their first 45 minutes of the season,” said Southgate.
“They kept the ball really well and we had to chase too much. It was definitely a lot of room for improvement but also for so many their first start of the season and really important for them.
Television footage of the players walking out onto the pitch was broadcast in black and white for 25 seconds to mark the 25th anniversary of the anti-racism campaign Kick It Out.
Spain who play in England’s group in the UEFA Nations showed their remarkable potential under new coach Luis Enrique by destroying World Cup runners-up Croatia 6-0 on Tuesday to hand the visitors their biggest ever defeat and take control of their Nations League group.
The hosts soon increased their lead with two thumping strikes from Marco Asensio, the second of which was given as an own goal to Croatia goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic as it bounced off him after crashing against the crossbar.
Rodrigo Moreno completed a fine team move after the interval before captain Sergio Ramos headed the fifth while a strike from Isco saw Spain become the first team to score six against Croatia as they charged top of League A, Group 4 on six points.
It was also the second time this year that Spain have scored six goals against World Cup runners-up, following their 6-1 win over 2014 finalists Argentina in March.
“We played a spectacular game and rounded off a brilliant week. We needed to recuperate the feelings we had before, we’ve played two great games,” said goalscorer Asensio, who also provided three assists.
To reach the Nations League finals next June, Spain need just two points from their remaining two games, at home to England and away to Croatia.
“We’ve played two teams that went very far in the World Cup and these victories are very important to reach the final phase, which is a challenge we have set ourselves,” added Asensio.
Spain made three changes to the team that won at Wembley, bringing in Valencia defender Jose Gaya and Real Madrid pair Dani Ceballos and Asensio.
Their inclusion made Luis Enrique the first Spain coach in 16 years to name six Real Madrid players in a starting lineup, making a mockery of fears in the Spanish media when he was appointed that he would discriminate against Real players over loyalty to his former club Barcelona.
Real defender Dani Carvajal made a decisive block early on to thwart Croatia forward Ivan Santini as Zlatko Dalic’s side made a bright start and caused plenty of unease for Spain, who lost 2-1 when the teams last met at Euro 2016 in a group game.
Carvajal also provided the cross from which Saul headed the opener, giving Spain a huge injection of belief and rattling the visitors, who moments later conceded possession in midfield before Asensio smashed the loose ball home from long range.
Croatia, so impressive in keeping the ball at the World Cup, lost confidence as Spain dominated possession and picked their opponents off with ease, inflicting biggest defeat on the Croats after a 5-1 loss to England in a World Cup qualifier in 2009.