Spain’s uninspiring 1-0 win over Sweden in Seville was enough to ensure their qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The two teams went into the game first and second in the group and separated by just one point, leading to hopes of a classic international showdown.
However, in a game reminiscent of their drab goalless draw in last summer’s Euros, chances were at a premium throughout with substitute Alvaro Morata eventually clinching the three points late in the game.
The hosts dominated possession in the first period and had the opening chance of the game with Pablo Sarabia whipping an effort just past the post inside ten minutes.
After this, despite enjoying plenty of the ball, Spain struggled to carve out chances while Sweden threatened on the counter. Emil Forsberg had two good chances before the break, bending one strike the wrong side of the post before flashing a volley past Unai Simon but just wide.
It was a similar story at the beginning of the second half. Despite Spain dominating possession, it was the Swedes who looked like scoring with Alexander Isak and Forsberg both letting good chances go begging.
After these early scares, La Roja got a handle on things, pinning Sweden back and defending stoically when they did break out of their shape.
Eventually the deadlock was broken. Morata was the hero, racing onto the rebound from Dani Olmo’s fierce effort before finishing calmly.
In the end, it was a job well done by Spain but their performance left a lot to be desired and any neutrals watching at home likely switched over long before full-time.
Here are your Spain player ratings…
SPAIN PLAYER RATINGS
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Unai Simon (GK) – 6/10 – Sweden very kindly failed to test him for most of the contest.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – 4/10 – Played one hospital pass in the second half that should have resulted in a Sweden goal. Comically bad offensively.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – 6/10 – Nearly spotless in possession. Read things well for the most part but did sometimes lose 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, though.
Carlos Soler (CM) – 4/10 – Looked leggy, particularly when Forsberg was running at him. A real peripheral figure in possession too.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – 6/10 – Some good passes. The slower pace of international football suits him. You know, because he’s really slow.
Gavi (CM) – 7/10 – Such a joy to watch when he’s on the ball. He’s not just aesthetically pleasing either, he’s also devilishly creative.
Pablo Sarabia (RF) – 4/10 – Fired off a decent effort early on in one of his only contributions of note.
Raul de Tomas (ST) – 4/10 – Strange he kept his place over Morata. Poor before he was hooked off on the hour ark.
Dani Olmo (LF) – 6/10 – Safe to the point of parody in possession. Run at a full-back maybe, mate? In his defence, his fierce effort did lead to Morata’s winner.
Rodrigo (RF) – 5/10 – Bright immediately after coming 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