Rating the Spain Players in Their World Cup Qualifying Draw
Reigning World Cup champions Spain were certainly not at their unstoppable best on Friday when La Roja allowed a late equalizer to draw with lowly Finland.
Spain was forced to play without three established stars from their World Cup winning squad. Iker Casillas, Carles Puyol and Xavi were all missing due to injury. But despite the missing stars, everyone expected La Roja to easily handle Finland.
However, it appeared to be just one of those off nights for the Spaniards. There was a clear lack of urgency and passing did not look as sharp as it normally does.
The draw will have fans looking at each individual performance from the Spanish players. In this article we will take a look at the player ratings for La Roja.
Each player will receive a rating between one and 10 with the higher number meaning a better performance. The player’s ratings will be based on their individual play and overall contribution to the match.
The Goalkeeper and Defenders
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Victor Valdes: 6/10
Valdes had big shoes to fill by stepping into the place left vacant by the injured Iker Casillas. Though he did not have much to deal with, the Barcelona man allowed the one real chance to end up in the back of the net.
Alvaro Arbeloa: 5/10
The Spanish right-back continues to be the weak link for La Roja. Arbeloa never really looked comfortable on the pitch. The defender spent most of the game in attack but the majority of his crosses were wasted.
Gerard Pique: 7/10
Gerard Pique had a fairly decent night by his Spanish standards. The tall defender won some very important aerials but could have been much sharper with his passing.
Sergio Ramos: 7.5/10
For the majority of the match, Sergio Ramos looked very vulnerable. A lazy pass almost cost La Roja, but the Real Madrid star was able to open up the scoring with a beautiful header which raised his rating significantly.
Jordi Alba: 7/10
It appears as though every match Jordi Alba plays in for Spain sees the left-back grow stronger. Alba linked up wonderfully in attack for La Roja and created a few really promising chances.
His defense was very strong as well, though Alba left gaps on several occasions.
Sergio Busquets: 7.5/10
Surprisingly, this was one of Sergio Busquets’ more quiet nights. The lanky midfielder broke up play a few times but never really had much to do. Finland did well to keep their attacks away from Busquets, and the Barcelona man was forced to mostly watch Spain attack.
Andres Iniesta: 9/10 and Man of the Match
Iniesta just continues to improve with every game he plays. Spain’s World Cup hero dazzled against Finland as the defense found it nearly impossible to take the ball off the Spaniard. Not only did Iniesta create several exciting chances, he nearly scored on a few occasions.
Santi Cazorla: 7.5/10
The Arsenal midfielder had a heavy task ahead of him by trying to slot into the hole left by Xavi. It was clear that Cazorla was not going to play the role of creator, but he also did not perform rather well in attack. Cazorla wasted a few strong chances and looked a bit uncomfortable in the style.
David Villa: 7.5/10
For David Villa, there is nothing like wearing the Spain shirt. The World Cup winner played a very strong role in attack by constantly testing the defense. Villa linked up well with Iniesta in attack but in the end, nothing ever materialized.
Cesc Fabregas: 6.5/10
Forced to operate in the false nine role again, Cesc Fabregas finally showed that he is no forward. The Barcelona star appeared to be one step behind his teammates and was eventually moved back into the midfield.
David Silva: 8/10
David Silva was arguably the hardest worked for Spain against Finland. The Manchester City star operated well on the wing by creating several chances and testing the keeper himself. He assisted Sergio Ramos for Spain’s lone goal and could have assisted on a few other chances as well.
Normally substitutes do not receive high ratings, but Pedro definitely earned his. The winger made an instant impact in the game when he entered at the start of the second half by cutting into the box and dribbling past defenders.
Pedro is quickly making his case to be a regular starter for La Roja.
Alvaro Negredo: 6.5/10
Negredo was given a very good chance to show why he deserves to be in the Spain squad. However, the striker will be hoping for another chance after this match. Negredo had three chances to put Spain ahead at the end of the game but wasted every one.
Juan Mata: 6/10
Things have been difficult for Mata in the Spain squad. The Chelsea man just does not appear to fit in well with the Spain style of play and it showed again in this match.
Juan Mata did very little in his short time on the pitch, but more worrying for him is that his time may finally be up for La Roja.
How would you rate the Spanish players in their draw? What does the result mean for La Roja? Don't forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.
Tre' Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on La Roja and La Liga.