Press Association · Columnist
Spain produced a Cardiff masterclass to stun Wales 4-1 and send a warning shot to Nations League rivals England.
Luis Enrique’s stylish side strolled to a 4-1 victory on a night when Wales returned to the 74,500-capacity Principality Stadium for the first time in seven-and-a-half years.
Paco Alcacer, with a brace, and Sergio Ramos scored inside 29 minutes before substitute Marc Bartra added a fourth with a towering second-half header.
Sam Vokes headed a consolation a minute from time but it was a sobering evening for Ryan Giggs’ side ahead of their Nations League game against the Republic of Ireland.
Wales player ratings:
Wayne Hennessey: Could do little about Spain’s first-half scoring blitz that ended the game as a contest. Looked on as Wales’ defence was shredded. 6 (out of 10)
Chris Gunter: Attempted to utilise all his experience of 90 international caps to push Wales off the back foot, but it was a lost cause far too early. 5
Ashley Williams: An uncomfortable night for the Wales captain, who allowed his opposite number Sergio Ramos the freedom of Cardiff for Spain’s second goal. He did not appear for the second half. 4
Ben Davies: Often uneasy at the back as Spain looked as though they could cut Wales open when they felt like it. A first half re-run would not offer pleasant viewing. 4
Connor Roberts: Unquestionably one of Wales’ brightest future stars, he will probably learn more from Spain’s masterclass than many games he wins. 6
Joe Allen: Tried to get himself into the thick of it, yet Spain’s pinpoint passing meant he had little time on the ball. High work-rate, though. 6
Ethan Ampadu: Forced David De Gea into a save – a rarity in itself – and was not overawed either by the occasion or Spain’s majestic midfield unit before he limped off early in the second period. 7
Declan John: Could make little impact on the contest, spending much of the game chasing Spanish players who at times had the ball on a metaphoric piece of string. 5
Harry Wilson: The 21-year-old was a busy, lively presence for his team, providing a rare shaft of light. Plenty to enthuse about during his 45-minute stint. 7
Aaron Ramsey: Started in an advanced midfield role, before gradually tracking back for possession in an attempt to assert authority. Took over as captain after Williams departed. 6
Sam Vokes: Kept a lonely vigil up front at times. Ran hard, and although he only had crumbs of possession to live off, scored a late goal. 7
James Chester (for Williams, 46 mins): Took over from Wales skipper Williams for the second half. 5
David Brooks (for Wilson, 46): Started the second period, but had few opportunities to shine. 5
Andy King (for Ampadu, 50): Summoned off the bench after a hobbling Ampadu left the action. 5
Matthew Smith (for Allen, 61): Among three Wales substitutes sent on after 62 minutes as coach Ryan Giggs looked for overdue impetus. 5
Tom Lawrence (for John, 62): impressed against Ireland earlier this month, and he was soon in the action. 6
Jazz Richards (for Davies, 62): featured for the final 28 minutes, but could only look on as Spain added a fourth goal. 5