Morocco v Spain player ratings as Isco scores an 8 and Iago Aspas gets a 7

Andy West 26/06/2018
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Spain will face hosts Russia in the last 16 of the World Cup after finishing top of Group B following a dramatic 2-2 draw with already-eliminated Morocco in Kaliningrad.

Spain, 2-1 down thanks to Morocco substitute Youssef En-Nesyri’s 81st minute header, were set to finish second and therefore take on Uruguay in the next round.

Their substitute Iago Aspas then flicked the ball into the net in the dying seconds and saw that the flag was up for offside – but the goal was subsequently given following a VAR review.

Here are player ratings from Kaliningrad:

De Gea 6. Made his first save of the tournament, producing a decent stop to deny Boutaib, but failed to command his area and still looks vulnerable.

Carvajal 6. Couldn’t get forward to his usual effect until injury time, when his well-placed cross found Aspas for the leveller.

Pique 5. Looked shaky in defence all night, appearing to struggle with concentration. Came close with a pair of headers from corners.

Ramos 4. Caught dozing on the halfway line for Morocco’s opener and beaten in the air by En-Nesyri for the winner. Concerning.

Alba 7. A tireless runner up and down the left wing, regularly combining well with Isco and enjoying a fierce tussle with Amrabat.

Thiago 6. Clever range of passing in midfield kept Spain’s passing ticking over in his first start, and his substitution was something of a surprise.

Busquets 5. Missed a golden chance with a free header and regularly looked vulnerable to Morocco’s swift counter-attacking.

Iniesta 6. At fault for Morocco’s goal but responded with a clinical assist for Isco. Sparkled in the first half but faded badly in the second.

Silva 5. A quiet game for the midfielder, who was on the fringes of the action and couldn’t offer threat inside the box.

Costa 5. Produced some clumsy touches in the first half and was barely involved in the second before being replaced.

Isco 8. Full of tricks, flicks, dribbles and passing, capping an excellent performance with a well-taken goal. Spain’s key man by far.

SUBS

Aspas 7. Rescued his team with a neat flicked finish for a VAR-assisted goal which will be remembered with bitterness by Moroccan fans.

Asensio 6. Introduced onto the right wing but had hardly any impact except sending a near-post header well wide.

Rodrigo 6. Charged around with commitment in the latter stages after being brought on for Silva.

MOROCCO

Munir 6. Didn’t have too many saves to make and couldn’t do anything with either Spain goal. Dealt with crosses well.

Dirar 6. Had a tough time up against the dual threat of Alba and Isco, but stuck to his task and got forward when he could.

Da Costa 7. Very solid in defence, enjoying much the better of his tussle with his namesake. Strong in the air.

Saiss 7. Made a superb goalline clearance to keep out Isco’s header among several more timely interventions in the danger area.

Hakimi 6. A relatively restrained performance from the Real Madrid man on the left flank, but dealt with Silva well.

El Ahmadi 7. Held things together on the edge of Morocco’s penalty area, holding his position wewll and keeping it simple in possession.

Boussoufa 7. The skipper linked midfield with attack well, but will remember the game for his heel playing Aspas onside.

Amrabat 7. Threatened down the right and denied a stunning goal with a long-range strike against the post, but walked a tightrope on a yellow card.

Belhanda 5. Couldn’t influence the game in the centre of midfield and was replaced just after the hour mark.

Ziyech 5. The winger is highly rated but was relatively quiet on this occasion, although his volley won the corner for the winner.

Boutaib 7. Took his opening goal well and could have scored again just after. Worked hard as the lone striker before being replaced.

SUBS

Fayr 6. The first sub to appear, he had to do more defending than he’d like as Morocco tried to hold on.

En Nesyri 7. Malaga youngster appeared from the bench and thumped home a brilliant header for a memorable winner.

Boudebouz 6. Barely had a touch after coming on for the final stages.

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France coach Didier Deschamps said his team will be going all out to win their final World Cup group game against Denmark as they look to wrap up first place.

Deschamps is expected to make several changes for the encounter with France guaranteed a spot in the last 16 following wins over Australia and Peru.

Denmark require just a point to join France in the knockout stages, and could even pip Les Bleus to top spot in Group C with a victory.

Here’s our video wrap of all the stats before the game at 18:00 (UAE Time) on Tuesday in Moscow.

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Under pressure Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli admits his side face a “momentous” must-win clash with Nigeria.

Argentina know only a victory will do if they are to avoid a humiliating exit from the group stages.

They currently lie bottom of Group D with a solitary point to their name following a draw with Iceland and the embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Croatia.

Yet Sampaoli remains convinced his beleagured side can salvage something from what has been a dismal World Cup campaign so far.

“For us it’s a momentous game, I think both teams are going to do everything possible to qualify, that makes the match very attractive,” he said at his pre-match press conference.

“We have to make our goal of five games to reach the final. Tomorrow will be the first final.

“We don’t have any alternative and I am sure this is how it will go. Tomorrow, I am sure that they will see the best version of Argentina at this World Cup.

“Beyond the fact that I have the team in my head, I do not want to confirm it because I have not yet communicated it to the players.”

Captain Lionel Messi, who turned 31 on Sunday, has cut a miserable figure so far, missing a penalty against Iceland and making no impact against the Croats.

Sampaoli admitted: “I think the structure of the game with Croatia did not favour Messi. We will try to improve.

“This game has to be played with the heart, we have to do everything possible so that Argentina is in the next phase.”

Nigeria, second in the group with three points, need to win to guarantee their progress but could also go through with a draw if Iceland do not beat Croatia.

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