Spain Player Ratings

[REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Mike Woitalla grades the Spanish players in Spain's 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the World Cup final on Sunday.

The Dutch disrupted Spain’s midfield possession game with fouls, but Xavi and Co., managed as usual to control the ball for most of the game.

Spain responded to its frontline’s timid performance by sending midfielder Andres Iniesta, the eventual hero, into the heart of the Dutch defense.

After keeper Iker Casillas’ save on the best Dutch chance, Spain became more threatening with sub Jesus Navas on the right flank. Cesc Fabregas invigorated its midfield in overtime.


8 Iker Casillas (Real Madrid) 111-0
Who knows how the game would have gone had the goalkeeper not made the foot save on Arjen Robben’s breakaway effort? Casillas also handled high balls securely.

7 Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) 67-5
The right back had an early diver header well saved by Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg and should have scored on corner-kick header from six yards in the second half. Otherwise he was excellent, constantly intercepting Dutch passes and launching forays down the wing.

5 Gerard Pique (Barcelona) 23-4
The poised central defender missed the through ball Robben broke free on for the big Dutch chance but otherwise patrolled competently.

5 Carles Puyol (Barcelona) 90-3
Managed not be punished by the Dutch speed through the middle despite looking vulnerable, especially when Robben shot weakly in the 83rd minute.

6 Joan Capdevila (Villarreal) 52-4
The left back whiffed on a close-range shot in 48th minute after a corner kick was flicked on. Despite his movements forward, he prevented the Dutch flank attacks.

6 Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) 20-0

A poor pass set up an early long-range Dirk Kuyt chance but he was an important part of Spain’s ability to play out of the back while under Dutch pressure.

7 Xavi (Barcelona) 94-8
Could have done better with his overtime free kick, but made sure Spain kept its composure after the Dutch came out with flying tackles. Was the midfield orchestrator as always.

5 Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid) 76-9
Survived getting cleated in the chest by Nigel de Jong to play a solid if unspectacular game as defensive midfielder – not nearly as dynamic as his replacement, Cesc Fabregas

8 Andres Iniesta (Barcelona) 49-7

By penetrating the Dutch penalty area, he was Spain’s most dangerous player. His clever back-heel pass kept the counterattack going that led to his game-winning strike, in which his first touch bounced the ball up for him to strike a fierce volley.

3 Pedro (Barcelona) 7-1
His subdued performance prevented the Spaniards from threatening the Dutch early on.

4 David Villa (Valencia) 65-43
The man whose five goals got Spain to the final had a quiet day – shooting wide a couple of times, having a close-range effort blocked.

6 Jesus Navas (Sevilla) 9-1

Arrived in the 60th minute for Pedro and gave Spain a threat on the right wing, including a setup that Villa failed to finish from close-range. Launched the counterattack that led to the winning goal.

8 Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal) 54-6
Threatened with two shots in overtime, forcing a save and hitting wide. Served Iniesta for the World Cup-winning goal.

5 Fernando Torres (Liverpool) 80-24
In a cameo, lofted the ball that the Rafael van der Vaart failed clear safely, allowing Fabregas to feed Iniesta.

(Ratings: 1=terrible; 5=average; 10=brilliant.)
Agree with our ratings? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

8 comments about "Spain Player Ratings".
  1. Christopher Holden, July 11, 2010 at 7:51 p.m.

    What about Howard Webb's rating ... he determined the winner by not calling the corner kick of that free kick that clearly went off of Fabregas, not to mention all the non calls that went Spain's way. Webb gets a 1 from me. Poorly refereed game leads to poor results. He lost control of the game and in the end he influenced the result. FIFA needs good refs and video replay! Use the NFL system where coaches get to challenge a play, say for soccer only once a half.

  2. Kerry Ogden, July 11, 2010 at 9:34 p.m.

    I'd agree that the ref was favoring one team AND IT WASN"T THE WINNERS CH!!!!

  3. Kerry Ogden, July 11, 2010 at 9:39 p.m.

    I thing that FIFA should have done was ban De Jong from ever play soccer again. I think this is the same player that broke Stuart Holdens leg and several other players legs in the past two years. I"M SO HAPY TO SEE SPAIN COME OUT THE VICTORS!!!

  4. Kenneth Dowell, July 11, 2010 at 9:41 p.m.

    I don't think the ref had any influence on the outcome of the game. He handed out too many cards but was faced with a team consistently using fouls tactically. Overall Webb was pretty consistent in the way he called the game.

  5. Charles Stamos, July 11, 2010 at 10:07 p.m.

    it was interesting that Webb used the yellow card, verbal warning, then red card route vs the more usual verbal warning, yellow card, red card or the technically more correct yellow card, red card progression.

  6. Steven SIegel, July 12, 2010 at 12:36 a.m.

    Ultimately, the ref had little choice with some very rough play so early on. Van Persie should have received a yellow the first moment of the game with his high boot to the back of the knee. The Sergio Ramos yellow card was a fairly ordinary missed tackle, though, and of course the ref simply didn't see the De Jong boot in the chest, which is a straight red in everyone's book. Overall, the ref had little effect on the outcome, except that he missed that red card, but I suppose that can't be helped until they go with technology assist.

  7. David Crowther, July 12, 2010 at 4:41 p.m.

    Though it would have been a difficult game for any ref, Webb did not meet the challenge. Overall, I think he hurt Spain more than Holland (who should have been down to 9 by the end of the first half).

    I generally agree with your player ratings, except perhaps I would have given Navas at least a 7. The entire complexion of the Spanish attack changed as soon as he replaced Pedro and he was involved in almost every chance created by Spain that followed.

  8. Christopher Holden, July 12, 2010 at 11:54 p.m.

    To Ric Fonseca: one challenge per half and not a challenge at the end of each half - just a thought. The de Jong play was a straight red card but there isn't a FIFA ref who has the balls to call that in the first half of the championship game. Certainly the game was a mess, and my point is that Webb made it worse. He was a joke. Yellow first then stern warnings - hahahaha ... course in the case of Johnny Heitinga's 2nd yellow it was a nice dive by our hero Iniesta and he flat asked Webb for the yellow, and Webb was happy to make the right call, I have never seen such a weak call in a World Cup Championship game. I guess it is easier to call a yellow on a tug on the shoulder when you want the center back off the pitch and not so easy to get the right call on a deflected free kick that bounces out of bounds 20 yards off target??? How can the center ref or the AR miss the corner call 60 seconds before the goal on the free kick that clearly went off Cesc Fábregas. Webb blew it, he gets a one (1), and the AR's get a zero (0) and a zero (0) for being dumb and dumber. Mullarkey was true to his name, and Darren CANN wishes he could. Anyone who says the ref had little effect on the outcome of this game did not notice that John HEITINGA was the center defender that would have cleared the ball that Rafael VAN DER VAART passed right to Cesc Fábregas who made a nice pass to Iniesta for the goal. So much for Spanish passing, just ask Webb to get rid of the center back and keep pounding the ball in there ... the replacement will screw up and we'll get a goal out of the deal - LOL! Watch this video and at the 1:10 mark laugh at the Spanish superstars diving (three of them) on one play -- this is how the game is played at the highest level ... - disgraceful.

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