The first match for Spain in Group B is done. And yes, this was not a dream. That did happen. It would be a lot easier to simply rate the team as a whole since there is not one player that stood out for the defending champions. “La Furia” from the “Roja” simply disappeared.
The following is a rating of the Spanish players of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest a player can get.
Casillas (2): This has to be the worse game from Iker Casillas. In all five goals against Spain, Casillas did not appear secure. Casillas was easily beaten on the second and fifth goal by Robben. Not once did he intervene or even bother the Bayern Munich winger. And Casillas is clearly at fault for the fourth goal. His bad pass seemed more of a present for van Persie to get his second. Luckily, his couple of saves kept it to five goals. This match could have easily ended 7-1.
Azpilicueta (3): Cesar Azpilicueta was probably the best of the four. Although the right-back did not bring much to the match, he was the only of the two full-backs that attempted to be involved in all the attacks to the right. Azpilicueta had space to explore on the Spanish right, but much of the game seemed to be played on the left for Spain. When defending, Azpilicueta made sure to not forget his defensive duties. Unfortunately, the five goals against Spain masks his labor on defense. He did lose his mark on de Vrij for the third Dutch goal.
Pique (2): There is not much we can say on Gerard Pique. Holland’s forwards passed on through the center-back as if he was not even playing. Pique seemed lost on whether his duties were to mark van Persie or Robben. On the first goal for Holland, Pique kept van Persie onside which gave the tie to Holland. And on goal number two for Netherlands, Robben beat Pique for the through ball.
Ramos (2): We really expected much more from the current Champions League winner. After the season he had with Real Madrid, Ramos was set up to be the defensive leader for “La Furia Roja.” Ramos is one of the two responsible for Holland’s opener. Van Persie caught Ramos asleep on the long ball. To make matters worse, Holland’s fifth goal (Robben’s second), Ramos was flat out beaten by Robben’s speed from the half-line.
Alba (2): Did Jordi Alba play? Barcelona’s destructive left-back left his team vulnerable on the left. two of the five goals came from his left. He was caught out of position and left Ramos to fend for his life. Offensively, Alba offered nothing but an extra body.
Alonso (3): We will remember Alonso for scoring the penalty; that is all. We missed his dangerous long balls to the wingers. This was probably because Spain played with no wingers. The high press from Holland did not give him much time on the ball. Alonso was not given an opportunity to express his game. Well done by Netherlands.
Busquets (2): Just as Alonso, Busquets neither created nor protected. Usually his ability to position himself at the right spots defensively, hides any holes left by the wing-backs. But it seems that the form he carried for Barcelona this past season followed him to Brazil. Sneijder’s movements across the pitch was too much for Busquets.
Xavi (4): Xavi Hernandez’s first half performance gives him a “high” four. For the first 30 minutes of the game, Xavi kept the pace of the game. He distributed left and right, and even gave a couple of deadly passes to Costa. During the second half, Holland’s dominance took Xavi out of the game. Vicente del Bosque could have taken him out for a striker at this point.
Silva (5): Along with Andres Iniesta, David Silva was the most involved creator. He floated to Spain’s left flank to create overloads with Iniesta and Alba. He had a chance at goal to give Spain the lead. A few times he acted as a second forward attempting to beat Holland’s high line. But just as the other midfielders, he was gone by the second half of the game.
Iniesta (5): In the first 30 minutes of the match, Andres Iniesta was untouchable. We saw a bit of his magic on cut and pass to Silva that should have finished as a goal. Much of the problem of Iniesta’s game can be attributed to Silva moving across to the left flank and not leaving enough space for Iniesta to create.
Costa (4): Diego Costa tried and tried. He simply was not given the chance to show his talents. With Spain’s system to build up play, Costa was unable to take advantage of Holland’s high line. Just as mentioned in the preview, it is difficult to fit Costa in the Spanish system that does not play counter-attacking football. His best moment was getting the penalty call.
From the Bench
Pedro (3): The Barcelona winger gets a strong 3 for the few moments of life he brought for the Spanish. He was direct and fast. But with the midfielders gone from the game, Pedro could not do much for Spain.
Torres and Fabregas (1): Torres missed his usual one on one with the keeper. And does anyone remember Fabregas ever touching the ball? Both did nothing to save Spain.