Spain vs. France: Rating the Spanish Players in Euro 2012 Quarterfinal
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Spain looked like the Spain we all have come to love as La Furia Roja controlled the ball possession, got the lead and frustrated the opponent, in this case France, and defeated Les Bleus by a 2-0 score.
Xabi Alonso led the way as the man from Basque Country got himself a brace in his 100th cap with the Spanish national team.
The first goal came in the 19th minute as the left-side combination of Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba broke down the French defense. Alba received the through ball from Don Andres and Jordi got passed Mathieu Debuchy and crossed the ball to a wide open Xabi Alonso for the 1-0 lead.
France just never got it together as Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery couldn't get things going for Laurent Blanc's team. It was a tough night for the French team, and on Zinedine Zidane's birthday as well.
In the 90th minute, Pedro was taken down inside the penalty box and Xabi stepped up and blasted the ball as Hugo Lloris went the other way to end the game 2-0.
Overall, Spain dominated the French and are looking good to win their second consecutive European title.
So, how did I rate each player for La Roja in this game on a one to 10 scale?
Here are my ratings for each Spanish player in their 2-0 victory over France.
Iker Casillas and the Defenders
Iker makes the save!
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Great save on a French free kick in the 31st minute. Another fabulous save in the 71st minute as France looked to attack. Iker didn’t have to do much as Spain dominated ball possession.
Even though he didn’t have to do much, Iker gets a 10 from me because he got the shutout as well as making the stops when called upon.
Again, the Valencia man shows his class as he got away from the French defense and sent in the cross that found the head of Xabi Alonso in the 19th minute. Continued to look to come up on offense throughout the game. Nice chip pass to Pedro in the 69th minute.
Saved a near break for France when Gerard Pique gave the ball away. Played very well in the first half, albeit he got a yellow card for his foul on Karim Benzema in the 31st minute.
Ramos was the better of the two centre-backs as he kept an eye on Benzema and all French crosses. In the second half, Ramos continued his great play as he played an almost sweeper type of role in the middle.
Solid game from the Real Madrid defender.
Terrible pass as he gave the ball away in the fourth minute. Iker had to send the ball away as Pique again was shaky in the seventh minute. Had a better second half as France began their attack.
Overall, I’m giving Gerard Pique a six because he was inconsistent on defense in this game as well as in all of Spain’s games in Euro 2012.
Good decision to come up and play offense in the 11th minute. Was caught offsides a few times in the first half. Arbeloa adjusted and stayed in the back line as France stepped up their attack in the second half.
Xabi gets a brace!
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Quiet game from Busi. Had a few bad passes including one in the second half that led to a counterattack and shot on goal from France. Busi, like his Barcelona teammate Pique, have not had a good Euro 2012.
Great through ball to Jordi Alba at the two-minute mark. Nice job trying to catch Hugo Lloris off his line with a long shot in the eighth minute.
What an amazing header as Alba found the Real Madrid man for the 1-0 lead in the 19th minute. Continued to make quality passes throughout the game. In the 90th minute, Xabi made the penalty to seal the victory.
In Xabi Alosno’s 100th cap for La Roja, he gets a brace and leads Spain to the 2-0 win.
Xabi doesn’t get a 10, he gets an 11!
Rating: 11 (that’s right!)
Got things under control along with Xabi Alonso. There were many times Xavi went to the back line to get the ball.
Xavi has not been as active as he was in the first two games of the tournament, but he continues to be the “safety net” of the team. Any kind of problems on either attack or on the back line, you can always pass it to Xavi and he will get things under control.
Xavi will need to be more active on the offensive side of the attack and have a big game in the semifinals as Spain will face Portugal on Wednesday.
The Forwards and Substitutes
Don Andres always attracts multiple defenders!
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It took Don Andres 10 minutes to get his game going, but once again, Iniesta had another excellent game. Andres has caused problems for not only France, but for all of Spain’s opponents in Euro 2012. He came out in the 84th minute and was replaced by Santi Cazorla.
Solid first half by Silva as he caused problems for France on the right side. “El Chino” did have a few moments where he had a one-on-one but couldn’t break through. Silva needs help on the right side as Cesc Fabregas tried his best to help him. Silva was replaced by Pedro in the 65th minute.
Looked like Cesc had a penalty that was not called in the sixth minute. Although Vincente del Bosque put Fabregas as a “false nine,” Cesc rotated throughout the Spanish offensive line. Nearly beat Lloris to the ball in the second half of the game.
So far, it looks like Fernando Torres will not be in the starting lineup in the next game as we’ve seen that things seem to flow better when Cesc is in the lineup.
Came in for David Silva in the 65th minute. Good play by Pedro to try and find Fernando Torres in the 68th minute.
Got a penalty called in his favor to set up Xabi Alonso’s penalty kick to seal the game for La Roja. Pedro didn’t have to do much as Spain controlled the game. For the time Pedro was in the game, he looked pretty good as far as speed and getting into open spaces.
Came in for Cesc Fabregas in the 67th minute. Fernando was caught offsides twice within the first five minutes of entering the game. Torres didn’t do too much as Spain kept ball possession and were not attacking as much as they were in the first half.
Torres is not getting to open spaces. And it was not just in this game—he has done this for all of the games minus the Ireland game.
I understand his speed is no longer what it used to be, but El Niño needs to step it up in getting into spaces.
I still don't know why Vicente del Bosque hasn't given Fernando Llorente a single minute on the pitch in this tournament.
Don’t be surprised if del Bosque keeps Torres on the bench against Portugal as he has quicker players in Pedro or Jesus Navas to play a “false nine.”
Came in for Andres Iniesta in the 84th minute. Like Pedro, Santi didn’t need to do much as the game was in Spain’s control in the last minutes.
Final Overall Rating of the Team
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Overall, my final rating for the entire team is a 9/10.
Congrats to Spain on defeating France 2-0. A special congrats to Xabi Alonso on his 100th cap for the Spanish team and for his brace in the game.
We'll see if del Bosque will make adjustments to the lineup as Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal are up next.
Look for Sergio Ramos to help out Alvaro Arbeloa many times as they will look to try and contain CR7. If Ronaldo plays striker, look for Pique and Ramos to try and smother Cristiano.
On offense, we'll see if Torres gets playing time as his struggles may lead to Pedro, Navas and Cesc getting the "false-nine" spot.
Spain battle Portugal in the semifinals of Euro 2012 this Wednesday, June 27 at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine.
¡Vamos Roja! ¡Vamos España!
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