Sergio Canales scored his first Spanish national team goal to help La Roja earn a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands on Wednesday night at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam. Canales fired in an excellent left-footed strike in the second half, only to see Donny van de Beek cancel that out in a meeting between former Barcelona teammates Luis Enrique and Frank de Boer.
The Asturian boss made several interesting inclusions in his starting XI, including Unai Simon in goal, Hector Bellerin and Inigo Martinez in defence, Koke in midfield and Marco Asensio in attack. Spain were crisp and precise in their passing and they broke the deadlock through Canales to take a 0-1 lead. The Dutch were a bit too slack in their defending, and Alvaro Morata took full advantage, playing a surgical pass into Canales, who did the rest by firing in a left-footed shot past Netherlands goalkeeper Marco Bizot.
A nasty clash of heads between Jose Gaya and Hans Bateboer forced Luis Enrique into his first change midway through the half, with Sergio Reguilon replacing the dazed Gaya. Spain would spoil a few more chances to tally a second before the break, and they would rue that at the start of the second stanza, as Van de Beek pulled the Netherlands level 1-1 less than two minutes after the re-start. A cross was floated across and neither Inigo Martinez nor Reguilon dealt with it, gifting Van de Beek the free crack at goal.
Asensio, Morata and Koke each had chances to strike back, but were unable to convert, leading to a trio of changes from Luis Enrique with Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Dani Olmo replacing Gerard Moreno, Asensio and Morata. But it was the home side that should have scored the second, as a Netherlands counter-attack ended with Memphis Depay having a wide-open, shot only to be denied by the out-stretched hand of Unai Simon.
Marcos Llorente got to make his senior team debut for La Roja later in the half, as the Atletico de Madrid man came on for Koke. That was followed by Sergio Ramos replacing Inigo Martinez for the final five minutes, giving the legendary centre-back his 176th cap with the Spanish national team.
Things opened up in the final minutes with each team seeking a winner and the Dutch should have scored but a heavy touch from Luuk de Jong prevented the Oranje from getting a clean shot off. It would prove to be the final chance for either side, resulting in a share of the spoils for the visitors, who next travel to Switzerland on Saturday in UEFA Nations League Group 4 action.
1.- Netherlands: Bizot, Hateboer (Dumfries, min. 46), Veltman, Ake (Blind, min. 6), Wijndal, Wijnaldum (Klaassen, min. 46), Van de Beek, Frenkie De Jong (De Vrij, min. 46), Berghuis (Stengs, min. 46), Depay (Babel, min. 79), Luuk De Jong.
1.- Spain: Unai Simon, Bellerin, Eric García, Inigo Martinez (Ramos, min. 85), Gaya (Reguilon, min. 29), Rodri, Koke, Canales (Llorente, min. 72), Gerard Moreno (Ferran Torres, min. 62), Asensio (Traore, min. 62), Morata (Olmo, min. 62).
Goals: 0-1, min. 19: Canales; 1-1, min. 47: Van de Beek
Referee: Davide Massa (Italy). Yellow Cards: Reguilon (Min. 49) for Spain, Olmo (min. 84) for Spain, Van de Beek (Min. 89) for Netherlands
Red cards: None
Stadium: Johan Cruyff Arena
Source: Marca / Arch Bell