Spain v Switzerland player ratings as Andres Iniesta gets a 7 and David de Gea a 4 in 1-1 draw

Andy West 4/06/2018
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Alvaro Odriozola scored a superb opener but Spain were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland in Villarreal.

The right-back let fly with a 29th-minute volley from the edge of the box as the hosts sought to build on the 6-1 win over Argentina in March.

But Switzerland pegged them back just past the hour mark when Ricardo Rodriguez fired home after a rare mistake from Spain goalkeeper David De Gea.

Here, we rate the players on both sides.

SPAIN

De Gea 4 – Had nothing to do other than spilling an easy shot to gift Switzerland an undeserved equaliser. Cannot afford any more of those mistakes.

Odriozola 7 – Scored a cracking first international goal in his third appearance with a 20-yard volley, and did enough to show he’ll be a capable deputy for Dani Carvajal if needed.

Pique 7 – Cool and composed in the centre of defence, starting much of Spain’s possession play with his precise passing and regularly pushing forward in the latter stages.

Azpilicueta 6 – The only Spain player who looked uncomfortable in the first half, but settled into the game in an unfamiliar central defensive position.

Alba 7 – Regularly got forward to good effect, linking nicely with Iniesta and Silva, and flashed a half-volley just wide in the second half. Occasionally caught out of position at the back.

Koke 7 – The least flashy member of Spain’s outstanding midield, he kept things simple and led his team’s pressing well. Had a shot blocked in the opening minute.

Thiago 7 – Tidily ticked things over in the midfield pivot role, passing neatly and holding good positional discipline. Got forward early on to force a good save with a 20-yard shot.

Iniesta 7 – Sparkled on probably his last international outing in Spain, producing some glorious changes of pace and shifts in balance. Fired a low shot just wide before departing to standing ovation.

Aspas 5 – Relatively quiet in the opening period, operating on the right wing, and was replaced at the break.

Costa 6 – The brawn to go with Spain’s brain, he produced some clumsy heavy touches but added a physical presence to the attack. Replaced after an hour.

Silva 7 – Floated across the pitch with his usual grace, always looking to give penetration into the penalty area from his starting spot on the left wing. Drove a low first-half shot narrowly wide.

Subs

Vazquez 6 – Introduced at half-time on the right wing. Full of running and gave good attacking width but wasn’t consistent in the quality in his deliveries. One great piece of skill to tee up Rodrigo.

Saul 5 – Came into the midfield for Iniesta early in the second half. Got booked almost immediately and seemed to be playing within himself the rest of the way.

Asensio 6 – Replaced Silva on the left wing and produced some skilful moments without managing to muster a serious goal threat.

Rodrigo 5 – Played the final half hour in place of Costa and linked play well at times but had a trio of chances he couldn’t take, looking low in confidence in front of goal.

Nacho 6 – Replaced Odriozola at right-back for the final 20 minutes and did a steady job, twice nearly winning it with a curling strike which grazed the upright and then a header narrowly wide.

Monreal 6 – Came on for Alba for the last 15 minutes, had little chance to make a positive or negative impact.

Andres Iniesta (r)

Andres Iniesta (r)

SWITZERLAND

Sommer 6 – Made a great early save from Thiago’s deflected shot and a couple more decent stops, commanding his area well but occasionally looking rushed with his distribution.

Lichtsteiner 6 – Veteran skipper struggled at times defensively against Alba but offered a threat coming forward, and it was his shot that De Gea spilled for the leveller.

Schar 6 – Did a decent enough job in the centre of defence during the opening 45 minutes before being replaced at the break.

Akanji 6 – Gave the ball away a few times, looking poor on the ball, but worked hard throughout and won a few important challenges at the back.

Rodriguez 7 – The best of the visitors. Solid in defence and comfortable on the ball, and showed his attacking mentality but popping up in the box for the equaliser. Could be a World Cup star.

Behrami 6 – The deepest-lying of Switzerland’s midfielders, he had a tough time in trying to disrupt Spain’s smooth passing rhythm but stuck to his task.

Zakaria 6 – The most physical of the visiting players in the centre of the field, he made his presence felt without the ball but lacked quality in possession.

Shaqiri 5 – Started on the right wing before moving to a more central position in the second half, but had little impact in either position.

Dzemaili 5 – Little involvement in the play before he was taken off at half-time, other than firing Switzerland’s only first half shot over the bar.

Zuber 6 – Worked hard defensively on the left wing without offered much going forward. Was booked near the end for a tough aerial challenge on Koke.

Seferovic 4 – Barely had a touch in the opening period as Spain controlled proceedings and was replaced at the interval.

Subs

Djourou 7 – Played in the heart of defence for the second period and threw himself into his task with commitment.

Embolo 6 – Another half-time substitution, he was a forceful presence down the right flank and did a good job defensively.

Drmic 6 – Played up front for the second half and linked play well, offering an improvement on Seferovic. Pushing hard for starting place at the World Cup.

Fernandes 5 – The veteran midfielder came on for the final half-hour and struggled to get near the ball as Spain controlled the centre of the field.

Lang 6 – Came on Lichtsteiner at right-back and did a decent job defensively in the latter stages.

Moubandje 6 – Late substitution in place of Rodriguez, made a couple of strong runs forward.

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Neymar's explosive return for Brazil against Croatia stuns Tite

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Brazil coach Tite hailed the match-winning return of Neymar on Sunday but insisted his side are more than a one-man team as they go in search of a sixth World Cup title.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar emerged as a second half substitute against Croatia at Anfield in his first appearance since fracturing a metatarsal while playing for his club in February.

It took him just 21 minutes to make a stunning impression with a breathtaking individual goal to break the deadlock, before Liverpool favourite Roberto Firmino completed a popular 2-0 win in injury time.

Tite told reporters: “He (Neymar) came back above normal, far above my expectations. I expected much less of him because it is a gradual process.

“He will have to go through stages – he is going to have his ups and downs but by the third, fourth or fifth game he will be back to his level.”

However Tite urged caution over the striker’s return, and would not say if he had decided whether Neymar will feature in Brazil’s final pre-World Cup friendly against Austria in Vienna next Sunday.

He added: “He is a different player but he cannot be given the responsibility to decide – that would be inhumane. He is a key part – but not everything.

“To reach the goal requires the medical department, physiology and so much work. It is unfair to put that (pressure) on one person – the sense of the team is stronger.”

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said he would seek to take positives from the result and blamed fatigue and a lack of concentration for the defeat.

Dalic told reporters: “We need to be stable and draw lessons from the match. We controlled the match at some moments but in others the players were tired and their concentration dropped.

“There is no negativity but only positivity. If concentration falls in key moments they are situations teams like Brazil immediately exploit.”

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England's 'youthfulness and energy' can take them all the way at the World Cup, says Mikel

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Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel saw enough from England on Saturday to feel he can back Gareth Southgate’s team as potential World Cup winners.

England beat Mikel’s Super Eagles 2-1 at Wembley as goals from Gary Cahill and captain Harry Kane were enough to begin preparations for Russia with a win.

Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi pulled one back for the visitors, who are also World Cup-bound, but England did enough to secure the victory.

Former Chelsea midfielder Mikel played the whole 90 minutes and was impressed by what he saw from Southgate’s men.

“I think they have a very good chance of going all the way because the youthfulness and energy in this team… you can feel it,” he said.

“I think the pace in the team, you can feel it, and that is why we had some problems in the first half.

“In the second half we corrected some mistakes and played a lot better. I think the England team have a good chance.”

Nigeria were completely outplayed by England in the first half but reacted after the interval as they aim to go further than the round of 16 that they reached in Brazil four years ago.

Gernot Rohr’s side are in Group D alongside Argentina – who they beat 4-2 in November – Iceland and Croatia.

Mikel, 31, is an elder statesman of the squad these days and the Tianjin TEDA man is keen for the squad to develop together as they head to Russia.

“We are a very young team and we have to learn, it is good for this young team to have a taste of what we are going to face in Russia,” he added.

“We have to learn together as a team, we have to improve and that is why we played this game against such a quality side so we can know where we are and now we go back to training and try and improve.”

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