Gareth Southgate’s side were 3-0 up at half-time. Raheem Sterling ended his three-year, 27-game barren sequence with a thunderous early opener, before scoring his second from close range just before the break – his goals coming either side of a composed strike from Marcus Rashford.
Spain, torn apart by England’s pace in that sensational opening period, responded in predictable fashion in a chaotic second half, with Paco Alcacer pulling a goal back just before the hour with a near-post header.
England lived on their nerves, particularly goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The Everton player’s exceptional ability with the ball at his feet helped create the first two goals but he was also lucky to survive a penalty appeal when he seemed to bring down Rodrigo after attempting to be too clever in his own area.
Spain hit the woodwork and Sergio Ramos scored with the final act of the game in the 97th minute – but the visitors survived to secure a famous and deserved victory, their first here since a 4-2 win in 1987.
This was Spain’s first loss at home in a competitive fixture for 15 years.