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International Break Update: Spain vs. Italy (1-1)

Sergio Ramos, Nacho, and Isco, all get minutes in a 1-1 draw with Italy.

Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Sergio Ramos:

Decent defensive display in a god-awful kit by the Real Madrid captain. Italy piled on the pressure throughout the match, allowing Ramos to block a couple of crosses into the box and cut out a couple attacks, but Ramos could’ve done more to get a handle on Pellé and Eder in the 1st half. On the offensive side of things, Ramos helped Spain try to retain possession and take control of the game and was charged with switching play and sparking attacks. Ramos completed 83% of his passes and completed 2 out of 4 long balls. The center back was substituted at half time.


Nacho came on for his teammate Ramos and put in a more reserved display. Clearly sitting farther back than Ramos, Nacho allowed Pique to construct play and spark attacks, and instead positioned himself to stop counters. Italy rattled a fair amount of shots away in the second half, finally getting them a goal. Nacho wasn't at fault for it, as Pique had lost his man, but in the end there wasn’t much for Nacho to do, making it hard to take much from this performance. But the fact that he’s in this Spain side shows how much his quality is valued as a back-up.


Spain were struggling for attacking fluency the entire game, and it’s never a good thing when your center backs and goalkeeper (who together combined for 39 long balls) are the dominant constructor of play. Spain resorted to a very unimaginative route-one strategy, as they lumped 66 long balls all over the pitch, and were punished as they could not control the game. Isco was brought on in the 60th minute in an effort to add quality to Spain’s final balls, as Fabregas and Thiago had been poor, but the Real Madrid man was able to make little personal impact. He didn’t make a single offensive action and managed a poor 20 touches of the ball as a right central midfielder. However, he did work hard enough in the game, so it is hard to blame Isco for Spain’s woes in the final third. Problems with attacking fluency was a team-wide thing, and is something Del Bosque needs to address.

(All stats and charts taken from

In case you are interested, here is the full international break schedule.

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