Spain’s uninspiring 1-0 victory over Sweden in Sevilla was enough to secure their qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The two teams entered the match first and second in the group and were separated by only one point, which led to hopes of a classic international showdown.
But in a match reminiscent of their boring goalless draw, last summer’s European Championship, the chances were superior all the time with substitute Alvaro Morata eventually scoring the three points late in the match.
The hosts dominated the ball possession in the first period and had the opening chance of the match with Pablo Sarabia who hit an effort just past the post within ten minutes.
After this, despite enjoying a lot of ball, Spain struggled to create chances while Sweden threatened on the counter. Emil Forsberg had two good chances before the break, bending a hit on the wrong side of the post before flashing a volley past Unai Simon but just outside.
It was a similar story at the beginning of the second half. Despite Spain dominating ball possession, it was the Swedes who looked to score with Alexander Isak and Forsberg who both let good chances go and beg.
After these early intimidations, La Roja got a grip on things, snapped back Sweden and defended themselves stoically once they broke out of shape.
In the end, the stalemate was broken. Morata was the hero, who ran towards the return from Dani Olmo’s fierce effort before he finished calmly.
In the end, it was a job well done by Spain but their performance left a lot to be desired and all the neutrals who watched at home probably switched over long before full time.
Here are your Spanish player ratings …
Alba picked up another Spanish cap / Quality Sport Images / GettyImages
Unai Simon (GK) – 6/10 – Sweden failed to test him during most of the competition.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – 4/10 – Played a hospital pass in the second half that should have resulted in a Sweden goal. Comically bad offensively.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – 6/10 – Almost spotless in ball possession. Read things well most of the time but sometimes lost track of Isak.
Pau Torres (CB) – 7/10 – Spain’s best defender. Dominant in the air and on the ground.
Jordi Alba (LB) – 5/10 – Failed to complete a single cross. Defended well enough, however.
Gavi caught the eye again / Soccrates Images / GettyImages
Carlos Soler (CM) – 4/10 – Looked long-legged, especially when Forsberg ran at him. A real peripheral figure in possession as well.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – 6/10 – Some good workouts. The slower pace of international football suits him. You know, because he’s very slow.
Gavi (CM) – 7/10 – Such a joy to see when he is on the ball. He is not only aesthetically pleasing either, he is also devilishly creative.
It was not Sarabia’s night / Quality Sport Images / GettyImages
Pablo Sarabia (RF) – 4/10 – Fired a decent effort early in one of his only notable contributions.
Raul de Tomas (ST) – 4/10 – Strange that he kept his place over Morata. Poor before he was relaxed on the hour sheet.
Dani Olmo (LF) – 6/10 – Safe to parody in possession. Running at fullback maybe, buddy? In his defense, his hard work led to Morata’s winner.
Rodrigo (RF) – 5/10 – Bright immediately after getting on but then faded.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – 7/10 – Got the winner and should have started.
Mikel Merino (CM) – N / A
Rodri (CM) – N / A
Brais Mendez (LF) – N / A
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