Against England, Spain had far less possession than they were used to under World Cup caretaker coach Fernando Hierro and predecessors Julen Lopetegui and Vicente del Bosque but played with more objective and were more direct than before.
The 48-year-old has been widely praised for his work at the helm, having led England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.
England manager Gareth Southgate is not sure if he will continue in his role beyond the 2020 European Championship.
To mark the occasion, the Spurs striker wore a special pair of gold boots for the clash with the 2010 world champions.
They ultimately fell short, but Southgate was brought in to pull England out of its worldwide malaise, and he has succeeded.
England boss Gareth Southgate believes his side are on the right track, despite Saturday's defeat against Spain at Wembley.
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In the match before Nishikori's, Naomi Osaka moved into her first Grand Slam semifinal by routing Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-1. Last year, all four women's semifinalists were Americans, and two of this year's are, Serena Williams and Madison Keys .
Kane played 573 minutes at the World Cup this summer, picking up six goals and the Golden Boot along the way, and has started 61 matches in all competitions since the beginning of last season.
The hosts took the lead in the first half through Shaw's United team-mate Marcus Rashford, but England were pegged back nearly immediately by Saul.
Gareth Southgate gave a start to Marcus Rashford, a player now struggling to make his mark with Manchester United this season. "These are the teams we want to play against".
Saul's lively performance had the Spanish media asking why he did not play a single minute at the World Cup despite being part of the squad, while forward Rodrigo, scorer of the winning goal, also gave the team a more direct feel.
"Harry falls in that category in which we have several players where we have to watch how much they play", he said. "I am under contract, I have two years, you know that leads to a European Championship, which we have games at Wembley [in] which is going to be a brilliant experience", Southgate said.
"I think at the moment we have to stick with the plan, stick with what we're doing and just get better at doing it".
"He can collect the ball close to the defenders and give it to Philippe Coutinho or Neymar". England's players are some of the best in the world, of course, but when it comes to such precision, it was clear they are still some way off.