Wales 1-4 Spain: international football friendly – as it happened

A dominant Spain cantered to victory in Cardiff, though Wales improved in the second half and Sam Vokes grabbed a late consolation

And it’s all over! It’s France 2-2 Iceland! And it’s all over for this blog as well! It’s been educational. Bye!

So an own goal and a penalty have rescued the match for France.

In fact Iceland have a free kick in the centre circle.

Oh, no they don’t. I’m reading an old tweet.

And now they’ve got a penalty! Incredible scenes!

Back in Guincamp, France have scored twice in the last four minutes and are all set to draw 2-2 against Iceland!

Ryan Giggs has a post-match natter:

We’ve come up against a very good team. They were comfortable on the ball. When they lost it, got it back quickly. In football you have to do the basics right, even against an average team. When you come up against a very good team and you don’t do the basics, you’re in trouble. You have to do the right things most of the time in football, and if you don’t you get punished. There were so many mistakes and poor goals.

Second half was a bit better. We showed a bit of a threat going forward. That’s what we wanted to do. 50-0dd thousand turned up and we wanted to give them something to shout about. We did with the goal, and that’s about all you can take out of this game.

We got beat, got beat well. Now we have to react. Tuesday is another tough game, and we have to be better.

He also says it’s “very unlikely” that Bale will be fit to face Ireland.

A couple of Welsh players say some stuff. Aaron Ramsey says this:

First half-hour we couldn’t get to grips with them at all. In the second half we used the ball a little bit better. Couldn’t make as many chances as we wanted, but we played well against a very good Spain side. It was a tough night for us, one that we’ll learn from, against an excellent team. We need to bounce back and get back to winning ways against Ireland.

And Sam Vokes says this:

Always nice to get on the scoresheet. We said at half-time, go out and win the second half. We were much better in the second half, looked a lot more organised. I think we’ll look at this game, view it and learn from it. We knew they were going to be a great outfit. We let ourselves down in the first half, but we’ll learn from it.

France still have 10 minutes to fight back from a 2-0 deficit against Iceland.

Under Luis Enrique Spain have now played three, won three, scored 12, conceded three.

And the final whistle rings out in Haifa as well, where Israel have secured a third home win in the last four years, and Scotland have joined a short and inglorious list that also includes Andorra and Liechtenstein.

In Haifa, Scotland’s 10 men have 60 seconds left to find an equaliser.

Meanwhile in Guincamp, it’s France 0-2 Iceland!

Final score: Wales 1-4 Spain

90+1 mins: After 10 seconds of stoppage tie the referee blows his whistle, and Wales have ended the night on a high!

Um, but still lost 4-1.

GOOOOAAAALLL! Wales 1-4 Spain (Vokes, 89 mins)

Brooks, who has been very good since coming on, hits a delicious cross with the outside of his left foot, and Vokes misses his header completely! His luck’s in, though, because the ball comes off him, hits the back of a defender and flies into the corner!

Sam Vokes scores a consolation.
Sam Vokes scores a consolation. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images


88 mins: Another Wales attack, and this time as Brooks carries the ball forward they are three on three. But he tries to find Roberts on the overlap, and his pass is intercepted.

87 mins: Then Spain run up the other end and nearly score a fifth! Hennessey saves well from a low shot, and Rodrigo sends the rebound high.

86 mins: Wales’s best spell of the match ends with Lawrence volleying a lovely chipped pass low but too close to Kepa. Still, it’s a shot on target, Wales’s first.

85 mins: Ramsey dispossesses Gaya and has the ball and space in Spain’s penalty area. His cross, though, finds a defender.

83 mins: Richards does really well to cover Rodrigo’s run, get in front of his man and boot the ball clear at the vital moment.

81 mins: The final substitution of the evening sees Suso taken off, and Rodrigo brought on.

80 mins: Another decent Welsh attack! Lawrence dances into the area, reaches the byline and, with three team-mates to his left, tries to pick one out but Bartra cuts out the pass.

78 mins: Aspas has the ball in the net now, but the linesman’s flag is waving.

75 mins: Meanwhile in Haifa, the home side have taken the lead and the score is now Israel 2-1 Scotland. It’s a Kieran Tierney own goal, Israel having by all accounts missed so many easy chances that in the end a Scotsman had to score for them.

GOAL! Wales 0-4 Spain (Bartra, 74 mins)

Another set piece goal! Suso sends it in from the left, and Bartra meets it at the near post and sends it looping across goal and in off the far post!

Marc Barta outjumps James Chester to score.
Marc Barta outjumps James Chester to score. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


73 mins: Another substitution. Spain have taken Alcacer off, and brought Aspas on.

71 mins: Nearly a wonderful chance for Wales! Ramsey gets down the right and passes inside to Brooks who crosses low, and for a moment it looks like Vokes is about to thrash the ball into the net at the near post! But then he doesn’t, because a defender gets in the way.


70 mins: Rodri’s low shot is easily saved by Hennessey. The substitutions have taken much of the sting out of the game.

65 mins: Another fine chance for Spain! It’s another cross from the left, and Morata meets it at the far post and heads firmly but well wide.

64 mins: Back in Haifa, Scotland’s John Souttar has been sent off.

62 mins: Matthew Smith comes on for Joe Allen, Declan John trots off with Tom Lawrence replacing him, and Ben Davies is swapped for Jazz Richards. Spain, meanwhile, take off Azpilicueta and bring on Jonny, who is making his international debut.

59 mins: Oooooh! Wales so nearly have a shot on target! Ramsey shoots low from 30 yards and Kepa saves easily. I’m pretty sure the ball would have rolled harmlessly wide, but it was very close to rolling harmlessly towards goal.

58 mins: Suso hits the bar! It’s a lovely left-footed curler from 20 yards that curls over Hennessey but doesn’t quite dip enough.

57 mins: Meanwhile in Haifa it’s now Israel 1-1 Scotland, with the statistics suggesting that the home side have been dominating, well ahead as they are in shots, shots on target, corners and possession.

55 mins: A really very lovely Spanish move ends with Gaya crossing from the left and Alcacer heading over.

53 mins: Wales are pressing the Spanish backline a little more urgently in this half than in the last. Spain pass the ball through them in the end anyway, obviously, but at least they had to work a bit.

50 mins: Ampadu has done himself some damage, and is limping off the pitch with some kind of muscle injury. King will come on.

49 mins: Morata misses a brilliant chance for a fourth! Spain slice and dice the home defence with insulting ease, and Morata is played through. He tries to lift the ball over the advancing Hennessey, but can’t get enough lift and the keeper saves.

46 mins: And they’re off! Wales get the second half started, and 25 seconds later they still have the ball!

And with that, they’re ready for half two.

Not to be outdone, Spain are making three changes: Kepa, Bartra and Koke are on, and De Gea, Ramos and Saul are off.

A couple of half-time changes for Wales: James Chester and David Brooks are coming on, with Williams and, er, someone else going off.

Meanwhile in Guincamp, the World Cup champions, with Giroud, Griezmann, Dembele and Pogba in the starting XI, are 1-0 down at home to Iceland.

Replays of that second goal are astonishing. At the far post, which is the only place the ball could possibly have gone, there were three defenders, one of whom was Aaron Ramsey, and four attackers, so Wales had an in-built deficiency. Two of the defenders were standing around at the back of the queue, and one of those didn’t move when the free-kick was taken. It was just a shambles: horrific organisation, terrible planning, and poor individual decision-making.

Half time: Wales 0-3 Spain

45+1 mins: After six seconds of stoppage time, the referee blows his whistle and we have had half of the time!

A tough half for Aaron Ramsey and Wales.
A tough half for Aaron Ramsey and Wales. Photograph: Chris Fairweather/Huw Evans/REX/Shutterstock


45 mins: A lengthy spell of Spanish possession ends with Albiol looking up and, under no pressure, sidefooting a 30-yard low pass straight into touch.

43 mins: Wales have definitely grown into the game. Not that far into it, it’s true, but considerably further than they were towards the beginning. Some of their football, such as the way John fed Vokes a few minutes ago, has even been quite nice. But as I type Spain are hogging the ball once again.

40 mins: Scotland update: “So a meaningless Wales friendly gets the MBM treatment but Scotland get bupkis for their Nations League match at Israel?” notes JR. This is sadly true. We can only spread ourselves so thin. “I can’t decide if that’s an insult to Scotland or an insult to the Nations League. Anyhow, I can report there’s a bit of con-TRA-versy as y’all say over there as Scotland just won a penalty for a bit of a barge in Naismith’s back. Mulgrew scored it so it’s 0-1.”


39 mins: Wales come close! Well, they come close to going close! John carries the ball down the left, cuts inside and passes low to Vokes, who touches the ball away from Ramos, spins into the area, and then sees De Gea come and collect it.

38 mins: Wales actually put a passing move together, and as they keep the ball on the fringes of Spain’s area the crowd buzzes and hums. Then Allen gives it away. As you were.

36 mins: Wales nearly threaten Spain’s goal a bit! From Wilson’s corner Ampadu heads the ball vaguely goalwards, and though it did hit the post it was the outside edge, and De Gea waved it on its way.

35 mins: Wilson taps the ball against Alcacer’s leg and thus wins a corner, the undoubted highlight of Wales’s attacking efforts so far.

34 mins: Spain pass the ball around a bit while they decide when to score their next goal.

32 mins: A long ball over the defence finds Saul in all sorts of space, but he can’t control and it bounces out of play.

GOAL! Wales 0-3 Spain (Alcacer, 29 mins)

Morata goes down inside the penalty area after being tripped by Roberts. It looks deliberate to me, but with the ball nowhere near the referee misses it. Never mind: the ball never reaches him, because the cross from the right is headed half-out, headed back in and then knocked past Hennessey by Alcacer!

Paco Alcacer slots in the third from close range.
Paco Alcacer slots in the third from close range. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images


29 mins: Azpilicueta lifts the ball into the area, where Morata controls nicely but has to pass back.

25 mins: Spain win a corner, which is headed behind for another corner. “When was Ashley Williams last good?” writes someone on Twitter. Sometime in late 2015, I believe.

23 mins: Wales have a shot! It’s Wilson, from the free kick, but from wide on the right and a fair distance from goal it would have had to be a miracle shot to fly past De Gea, and it was not that. Instead, it looped over the bar.

22 mins: Ramos trips Wilson as the winger skips past him. It’s a free kick, and the referee runs to the scene with his yellow card out and then puts it away again without showing it at anyone.

21 mins: Wales can’t really be blamed for being outpassed by Spain tonight, but they should at least have set pieces vaguely sorted. But not so, it seems.

GOAL! Wales 0-2 Spain (Ramos, 19 mins)

Laughable defending. Morata, Albiol and Ramos are all free of markers at the far post as the ball comes in, and the latter does the honours and heads back across Hennessey and in.

An unmarked Sergio Ramos heads in the second.
An unmarked Sergio Ramos heads in the second. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images


19 mins: Morata is tripped by Gunter, and Spain have a free kick, just a little bit too far out to have a shot.

17 mins: Alcacer’s current form can reasonably be described as “piping hot”.

14 mins: Rodri is being man-marked when Spain have the ball, preventing him from being the bridge between defence and midfield, but allowing him to pull the Welsh midfield around in his wake like a mad puppeteer.

11 mins: Ramos feels Ampadu’s hot breath on his neck and goes over clutching his calf, in apparent agony. The referee blows his whistle (charitably) and he jumps straight up again. Spain will win this match easily enough without that kind of monkey business.

8 mins: It’s another left-footed right-wing cross from Suso, but this one dips scarily into the six-yard box. Hennessey comes out, pushes clear and runs into a Spaniard and the ball drops to Gaya, whose shot bounces to Alcacer, who wallops it into the top corner!


GOAL! Wales 0-1 Spain (Alcacer, 8 mins)

This might be a long night for Wales.

Paco Alcacer fires the ball into the top corner.
Paco Alcacer fires the ball into the top corner. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters


6 mins: Hennessey is called into genuine action for the first time, as Morata tries to drill in a low cross but the goalkeeper cuts it out at the near post.

6 mins: The goal kick is taken long, and Spain have it again.

5 mins: An extremely long spell of unbroken Spanish possession ends with Suso hitting a left-footed cross from the right straight out of play.

4 mins: Wales have touched the ball several times in these opening exchanges. Well, a few times.

1 min: Loud cheers greet the first Spanish showboating error of the evening, as a fancy backheel flick sends the ball into touch.

1 min: And they’re off!

The Principality Stadium is in fantastic voice for the Welsh anthem, though Giggs himself isn’t a very enthusiastic singer, preferring to half-heartedly mouth along.

The players are out! It looks like the two bottommost tiers of the stadium are pretty much full, though one entire side is more or less taken up with a wailingly enormous Welsh flag.

The players are in the tunnel! And so are quite a lot of random people in suits.

Does it not look like they lost half the panels for these balls and had to replace them with plain white ones at the last minute?

Wales head coach Ryan Giggs
The feet of Wales head coach Ryan Giggs before the friendly against Spain in Cardiff. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Ryan Giggs has a bit of a chat:

We’ve got a few players missing. Gareth is a special player, any team will miss him, but it gives a chance for others to step up. It is a special place, a special stadium right in the middle of the city, and a lot of players of course have never played here. I’ve told them to embrace it and enjoy it. We’re definitely going to have to play well. Individually, you look right through the team, they’re all at big clubs, they all play at the highest level, and a top coach as well. We’re up against it, but looking forward to the challenge.


This goal was a bit good, mind:

If you’re younger than 33 you have not been alive for a game between Wales and Spain. These are historic times. When the teamslast met, in 1985, the Welsh won 3-0 thanks in part to an absolutely classic defensive mix-up:

The referee is England’s own Anthony Taylor, who will be assisted by Stephen Child and Gary Beswick, with Iwan Arwel Griffith, who as his name suggests is Welsh, the fourth official.

Twenty years and a couple of weeks ago, Ryan Giggs and Luis Enrique went head to head on the pitch in the Champions League, they both scored and neither lost. I can’t find our match report, but Paul Wilson was there and wrote this about it:

Here’s further team-related confirmation. I’m not sure who the referee is, but I’m working on it.

That Wales team has been confirmed, in a tweet which suggests that Ashley Williams has an absolutely massive head.

Obviously the moment I write that we get a whisper from the Welsh. Their team, not yet confirmed, is apparently thus: Hennessey; Gunter, Williams, Davies; Roberts, Allen, Ampadu, John; Wilson, Ramsey; Vokes.

No whisper yet from the Welsh.

Spain have named their team! And it looks like this: De Gea; Azpilicueta, Ramos, Albiol, Gaya; Saul, Rodri, Ceballos; Suso, Morata, Alcacer.

Hello world!

So, Wales v Spain! Birthplace and current home of Gareth Bale go head to head in a match of immense personal significance for the ... er ... hang on ... no way ... oh. Gareth Bale is injured. He has, we’re told, “muscle fatigue” and will be limited to a dressing-room-and-bench-only tubthumping role, tiptoeing onto the pitch only for the pre-match presentation of a souvenir golden boot to mark his recently-earned status as Wales’s greatest ever goalscorer. “I’m not worried about Gareth and he’s not worried. We’ll take no chances,” says Ryan Giggs.

Spain meanwhile are expected to leave some of their most famous names on the bench. “He who takes advantage of his opportunity and does well in training will have minutes,” said Luis Enrique, cryptically.

In other news, the game will be the first played by Wales at the Principality Stadium since England’s visit in 2011, and though it won’t be full it won’t be empty either, so that’s a bonus. Spain’s players will wear black armbands, and the match will be prefaced with a minute’s silence, in honour of the victims of this week’s floods in Mallorca. The roof will be closed, as requested by Giggs who wants to maximise the atmosphere, and minimise the chance of the forecast wild rainfall - which isn’t expected to hit Cardiff until the early hours of tomorrow morning - arriving early and ruining everything.

Anyway, and more importantly, here’s an update on Ethan Ampadu’s increasingly unruly dreadlocks:

Ethan Ampadu of Wales
Ethan Ampadu of Wales looks on during a Wales training session at the Principality Stadium on 10 October 2018. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images