Spain vs Morocco Match Analysis and Player Ratings
|Image from the Telegraph|
Certainly not Spain’s best game of football but they have just managed to qualify top of Group B on goal difference as they drew to Morocco with goals from Isco and Aspas To level against deny Morocco with a single win at the World Cup 2018. Spain lined up with the same goalkeeper and back for but in midfield there was one change with Lucas Vasquez swapped out for Thiago. And so lined up:
De Gea, Carvajal, Pique, Ramos, Alba, Thiago, Busquets, Iniesta, Silva, Isco, Costa
The Moroccan supporters severely outnumbered the Spanish contingent and down where scenes of outrage from the majority when Gerard Pique lunged in with a two footed challenge to which the referee has ignored despite its potential to be a straight red card challenge. However they sprung to life in jubilation when a mixup between Iniesta and Ramos gave the main striker Boutaib 50 yards of space to run into and slot the ball between the legs of the Manchester United goalkeeper and score Morocco is first goal of this World Cup. This gave a sense of urgency to Spain and with Isco and Iniesta, who were Spain is most creative players in this match open the scoring with the Real Madrid midfielder beating the Moroccan goalkeeper from around 8 yards out, scoring his first of the tournament. Spain easily could have gone behind almost immediately after a long throw played Boutaib in again but De Gea got down smartly to block the effort with his first save of the tournament. This was the final true effort of the half and the score remained 1-1.
Morocco aimed to take the lead and restore some national pride as Nordin Amrabat curled a stunning effort just past the post with De Gea beaten. Morocco had a claim for a penalty after it seemed that Pique’s arm hit the ball but from Fajr’s corner, Morocco took a shock lead with En-Nesyri’s thundering header blasted into the top corner. Spain kept pressing for the equaliser and a potential winner and at the death, super sub Iago Aspas, flicked the ball gloriously into the goal but the referee disallowed the goal due to an offside call. Spain looked bewildered and VAR intervened and gave the goal to take Spain to the top of the group as Portugal drew with Iran in another VAR
Spain will now play Russia in the Round of Sixteen and have a better chance of reaching the final than fellow Iberian side Portugal.
David De Gea (7)
Finally made a save! Could have done better with the first goal but could do nothing about the second hopefully a confidence building game.
Dani Carvajal (7)
Got the second assist that took Spain to the top place and can always offer a threat from a wide area
Gerard Pique (5)
Lucky not to have been sent off early on and could have given away a penalty, needs to step up.
Sergio Ramos (5)
Was one of the culprits for the first goal and poorly defended for the second goal.
Jordon Alba (5)
Not himself this tournament, poor defensively and in attack – sort it out.
Sergio Busquets (7)
Kept the tempo in the game and a solid anchor
Better than having Vasquez in the squad but will want to create more chances
Poor judgement for the first goal but made up for it with class further up the pitch
Spain’s most active player and deserved his goal
David Silva (6.5)
Was just another passer from midfield did not have a lot of impact
Diego Costa (6)
Didn’t do much, sometimes bullish isn’t the key to unlock a defenc
Iago Aspas (7.5)
Super sub with a super flick, might start the next game
Marco Asensio (6)
Another midfield passer
MAN OF THE MATCH: ISCO