Spain player ratings v Ireland

Casillas, 6/10 – Had only a minute amount to do and did it without fault. Untested for the most part and much of his involvement was collecting hopeful crosses.

Arbeloa, 7/10 – Impressive in a high supporting full back position, perhaps benefitted from Spain’s near constant possession of the ball, and looked comfortable in a more advanced role, which was important in a side that lacks linear width.

Sergio Ramos, 7/10 – Competitive and aggressive, giving no sense that Ireland could beat Spain physically.

Pique, 7/10 – Completely understanding of Spain’s ball retention and a good proponent of it even as a centre back.

Jordi Alba, 7/10 – Suited terrifically for the system. Technical and quick, a very natural fit.

Sergio Busquets, 6/10 – Nowhere near as pivotal or instrumental as when he plays for Barcelona, yet against ROI this never really manifested itself in a way that was problematic for Spain. Not getting the most out of him due to him overlapping with Xabi Alonso.

Xabi Alonso, 7/10 – Gives a directness to Spain’s play that makes the side ruthless on the counter attack, and his shorter range passing fits the style perfectly.

Xavi, 7/10 – His impression on the game extends beyond his technical passing, which is perfect, to a wider sense that he possesses the knowledge of where the ball should be and where it should go at all times.

David Silva, 7/10 – A slick performance and a clever goal. Constantly floating into spaces.

Iniesta, 8/10 – The best player today, and never ever gives up possession no matter the pressure and minute space he has to work in. Compelling and brilliant to watch, gives so much to this side.

Torres, 6/10 – Torres’ brace only tells half the story, with his goals being the exception to quite a sub par performance. His touch was lacking and his passing isnt as succint or even technically capable enough to slot seamlessly into the attack, instead often hindering their tika-taka and ruthless counters. The benefits of his inclusion were clear; giving the attack a reference and occupying the centre back’s attention, as well as providing a ball in behind that stretches the play for Spain, yet these are more characteristics of playing a striker than they are good play from Torres.

Subs:

Cesc Fabregas, 7/10 – Unique running from Fabregas, and a brilliantly struck goal when Ireland failed to defend a corner.

Xavi Martinez, 6/10 – Showed good ball control and concise passing.

Cazorla, 5/10 – A more direct option who it would be interesting to see more of.

 

Iniesta kept the ball remarkably

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