La Furia Roja played their best match of the tournament. They protected counter-attacks! Who would have thought that was possible?
Fans will be pleased with today’s performance. Granted, it was against a weaker opposition. But the World Cup 2010 winners did what they had to do and left with a win. We rate the Spanish players from 1-10.
Reina (7): Although Spain maintained a clean sheet, Reina did not really have to do much. The Spanish keeper was– yet again– a spectator of a World Cup match. He simply had a better seat than the usual bench.
Juanfran (8): Atletico Madrid’s right-back assisted on David Villa’s last World Cup goal. He pushed up properly when La Roja had control of the ball. There were a few times he did leave space open for Australia to use; however, Albiol was more than adequate on defense to cover the back.
Albiol (9): As just mentioned, Albiol played almost a perfect game. He allowed Juanfran to push up and play his game while he covered the flanks efficiently. It makes you wonder how it would have been if he started since day one. I do realize this was a lesser team than Holland and Chile; nevertheless, Albiol looked great.
Ramos (8): I am not sure if Ramos played great because Albiol was his partner, or he remembered the World Cup is going on. It could be because Tim Cahill was not on the field to cause trouble. Ramos had his best match of the three.
Alba (9): Along with Albiol, Alba was played amazingly well. He tormented Australia’s right flank for all of 90 minutes. He linked well with Villa on the overlaps. And the Barcelona left-back showed again why he is one of the best interceptors in world football.
Alonso (8): How great did Alonso look now that he had Villa and Cazorla playing out wide. His partnership with Koke allowed Alonso to have a bit more time on the ball to deliver long balls to the wide areas. The Real Madrid man did have a little help from Australia since they were not pressing the midfield so much.
Koke (8): The young Spanish midfielder played his role well. For much of the game, Koke kept himself from leaving Alonso and the back four unprotected. Yet, when the opportunity was presented, Koke contributed in the final third. He was Iniesta and Alonso’s partner on phases of the match.
Cazorla (7): He was the weakest of the midfielders, but the best of the three that have played on the right this tournament. Cazorla usually plays on the left for Arsenal and looked uncomfortable trying to create plays from the right. As Silva did against the Netherlands, Cazorla floated left many times to combine with Alba, Villa, and Iniesta.
Iniesta (9): Clearly the best creator on the field. Iniesta played the middle well; we did not miss Xavi too much with the way Iniesta played. The transitions from left to right and right to left flowed smoothly. Above it all, Iniesta continue with his through passes between the backs. One of the passes led to a Torres goal.
Villa (10): In my opinion, the best player of the match. Many times throughout the tournament, I advocated the importance of width. Spain need a player that would play wide and behind the opposition’s backs. Villa was a constant threat running behind Australia’s defense and cutting inside in order to allow Alba to overlap. His cheeky goal summed up his play today. Spain will miss David Villa.
Torres (8): Torres gets an 8 because of his goal. He did not play badly; however, he did not play extraordinarily well either. The Chelsea striker ran the channels well, plus he added penetration to what had been an awful Spanish offense. A goal for “El Nino.”
Mata (7): I think at this point, Australia had nothing to give. Mata found huge amounts of Space on the right. Not much was needed from the Red Devil creator. Vicente del Bosque probably wanted to give him some minutes on the field.
Fabregas (7): Mourinho’s most recent purchase showed sparks of what he can provide for Chelsea. His assist delivered accuracy and penetration over the Australian back four. Unfortunately, he did not have enough time to showcase himself for Chelsea fans awaiting his arrival.
Silva (7): A 7 for touching the ball in the five minutes he played. I can neither give him a good score nor bad score.