How the England players rated against Spain

Adam Lallana celebrates his goal

Adam Lallana celebrates his goal

Spain snatched a late 2-2 draw against England at Wembley. Here is how PA rated the players.

JOE HART: The on-loan Torino goalkeeper would have expected a more difficult outing but he did not have to make a save before coming off at the interval. 6 (out of 10).

NATHANIEL CLYNE: Drafted in at right-back in place of Kyle Walker, the Liverpool defender proved an able deputy. 6.

GARY CAHILL: Only played the opening half and went largely untested against a weakened Spain attack. 7.

JOHN STONES: Less playing out from the back from the Manchester City defender who, with an ill-placed first-half pass aside, showed he can be as solid as he can be spectacular. 6.

DANNY ROSE: Did not have the same attacking threat as in Friday's win over Scotland but is starting to make the coveted left-back spot look like his own. Booked. 7.

ERIC DIER: Quiet but effective night marshalling the England back four. 7.

JORDAN HENDERSON: Captain for the night. Anchored midfield and delivered perfect ball for Vardy to double England's lead after half-time. 7.

RAHEEM STERLING: England's brightest spark in a promising all-round attacking display. Booked. 8.

ADAM LALLANA: Arguably England's best player of 2016, the Liverpool man opened the scoring from the penalty spot before he was forced off with a knee injury with less than 25 minutes on the clock. 7.

JESSE LINGARD: Third start under Gareth Southgate and impressed alongside Sterling. Looks like becoming a staple if Southgate lands the job full-time. 7.

JAMIE VARDY: Lucky to escape punishment for an early challenge on Cesar Azpilicueta before being upended for England's penalty. Headed home the second with aplomb to end a barren spell which stretched back to September 10. 8.

SUBSTITUTES

THEO WALCOTT (for Lallana, 26) Looked lively but missed a good chance to make it 3-0 with just 50 minutes on the clock. Booked. 7.

TOM HEATON (for Hart, 45) Smart stop to deny David Silva and could do nothing about Aspas' strike – but he will be disappointed to have conceded a last-gasp equaliser that flashed between his legs. 5.

PHIL JAGIELKA (for Cahill, 45): Like for like change as he became Southgate's experienced campaigner for the second half. 6.

ANDROS TOWNSEND (for Sterling, 65): With the game petering out the Crystal Palace winger could not inject the same sort of energy as the man he replaced. 6.

MARCUS RASHFORD (for Vardy, 67): Teenager did not have an impact after replacing the impressive Vardy. 6.

AARON CRESSWELL (for Rose, 79): A debut for the West Ham defender but he had little time to make his mark. 6.

Late Spain surge snatches draw at Wembley

Isco slams home the late equaliser for Spain

Isco slams home the late equaliser for Spain

England were caught cold by a late Spain comeback but a positive performance at the end of a turbulent year will have only strengthened Gareth Southgate’s grip on the manager’s job.

Few connected with the national team will look back at 2016 with any fondness as a handful of impressive performance were overshadowed by the humiliating European Championship exit to Iceland.

England lurched from one crisis to another as Roy Hodgson's successor Sam Allardyce left after a mere 67 days, but interim manager Southgate has steadied the ship impressively and looked crestfallen after Isco secured Spain a 2-2 draw deep into stoppage-time.

Adam Lallana's early penalty and the end of Jamie Vardy's goal drought had brought a smile to those inside a sold-out Wembley, producing football which will have pleased those in the top echelons of the Football Association.

Such a positive display on top of Friday's 3-0 win against oldest foes Scotland surely makes Southgate a shoo-in for the job full-time, although the closing stages underlined the work that remains.

Many inside Wembley applauded Liverpool flop Iago Aspas' stunning 90th-minute strike, but the overriding feeling was dejection as substitute Isco slotted a last-gasp equaliser.

Croatia crush Northern Ireland in Belfast

Duje Cop rifles in a free kick against Northern Ireland in Windsor Park

Duje Cop rifles in a free kick against Northern Ireland in Windsor Park

Northern Ireland rounded off their incredible 2016 on a losing note as a depleted Croatia became the first visiting side to win at Windsor Park in three years.

Since Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win for Portugal, Michael O'Neill's men had recorded eight wins and two draws in their previous 10 fixtures in Belfast, but they were undone by a Croatian team missing Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Dejan Lovren among others.

Mario Mandzukic, the most high profile player in the visitors' ranks, opened the scoring by bundling home early on before Duje Cop finished from a corner and ex-Leicester striker Andrej Kramaric fired into the top corner in a 3-0 success.

It represented the heaviest defeat since a 6-0 loss to Holland in June 2012, though it did little to detract from a calendar year that saw Northern Ireland feature at a finals for the first time in three decades, having also pieced together a record-breaking 12-match unbeaten run en route to Euro 2016 in France.

Traffic problems delayed kick-off by 15 minutes and when fans eventually arrived at Windsor Park they saw a much-changed home side that only retained West Brom trio Jonny Evans, Chris Brunt and Gareth McAuley, and Oliver Norwood and Josh Magennis.

There was a debut for Rochdale's Matthew Lund and just a ninth cap for goalkeeper Alan Mannus, though O'Neill's new-look team started brightly with Magennis' inviting cross causing problems across the six-yard box.

But a bright start was soon ruined by a ninth-minute opener, the first goal Northern Ireland had conceded here in 463 minutes.

It came in scrappy fashion too once Mannus had denied Cop, with both McAuley and Evans favourites to clear, only for Mandzukic to somehow poke the ball over the line when Evans attempted to hack clear.

It was Mandzukic's 29th international goal, a number that drew him level with former Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva, and only Davor Suker, who was in Belfast, is now ahead of him in the all-time standings.

The fixture soon settled into a pace more befitting an international friendly and nothing of note occurred before Cop doubled the advantage in the 34th minute.

A corner from Kramaric, the former record signing for Leicester who scored just four times in the midlands, was nodded on by Matej Mitrovic and Cop lost Magennis to finish in front of The Kop.

It was in that stand of the ground where security moved in to remove a cluster of fans before half-time.

Croatia had staged their previous two World Cup qualifiers behind closed doors, and referee Mark Clattenburg, the man in the middle here, was in charge at the Euros when their game with the Czech Republic was stopped as flares thrown from the Croatian section landed on the pitch.

A banner was unfurled here which read 'Never Forget Vukovar', a reference to a massacre that occurred during the Croatian War of Independence in 1991, but thankfully no serious incidents of trouble were evident in the stands.

A trio of half-time changes duly arrived from O'Neill, who was fortunate Croatian replacement Marcelo Brozovic was still finding his range when ballooning into the office windows at the back of the stand from a free-kick inside the box.

Kramaric had no such troubles when he picked up possession 30 yards from goal in the 68th minute, though, as he arrowed into the top corner with the type of strike

Leicester fans were never treated to in his ill-fated Foxes spell.

It was to finish 3-0, with substitute Kyle Lafferty twice denied a consolation, though with a fine year behind them and the prospects of more history to be achieved in Russia in two years' time, this night will be quickly forgotten by The Green and White Army.