Spain picked up a crucial 1-0 victory against Greece in their penultimate World Cup qualifying encounter to maintain their top spot in group B. Pablo Sarabia’s 26th-minute penalty was enough for Luis Enrique’s men to take all three points in a close encounter at the Athens Olympic Stadium in Greece.
The defeat meant Greece will not be able to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar and can finish at the third spot at best if they win their final encounter. For Spain, the victory was extremely needed as they would now go into their next match against Sweden with the knowledge that a victory would be enough to see them seal their place at the marquee event next year.
Greece vs Spain Player Ratings
Greece Player Ratings
Odisseas Vlachodimos– (6/10)- The goalkeeper made two good stops for his side to limit the goal tally against his side in a commanding display.
Giorgos Tzavellas– (6/10)- Tzavellas was rock solid for the majority of the match and was the best defender for his side. His outing was however ruined with a late yellow card for a high boot on Rodrigo.
Konstantinos Tsimikas- (6.5/10)- The new Liverpool signing looked the best source to create a goal, with his excellent crossing from the left flank.
Dimitrios Goutas– (5.5/10)- The centre back did not look up for the challenge against the quality strikers from Spain. He received a yellow card for a poor foul on Dani Olmo at the hour mark.
Dimitris Giannoulis- (6/10)- Giannoulis was the unfortunate player to give away the penalty after having been deemed to have bundled over Inigo Martinez. He did not have a great night and was replaced early on in the second half.
Thanasis Androutsos- (6/10)- The right wing-back had a tough night as he had to deal with the combination of Jose Gaya and De Tomas on his flank. he gave away too much space to the duo and Greece had to pay for it.
Andreas Bouchalakis- (6/10)- Bouchalakis gave the ball away very easily while greek looked to attack. His lack of physicality was exploited well by Rodri. Defensively he was decent and made 3 good tackles.
Manolis Siopis- (5.5/10)- The midfielder warmer himself a yellow card for showing dissent and did not have a great match overall.
Petros Mantalos- (7/10)- Mantalos was one of Greece’s best players on the night. He made 5 tackles and also had an impressive pass success rate of 85 per cent at the end of the match.
Georgios Masouras– (6.5/10)- Greek’s number 7 had the best chance of the game, which he put away but the goal was ruled out for offside in what turned out to be his side’s best move of the match.
Vangelis Pavlidis- (6/10)- The striker cut a disappointing figure up front, frustrated at the lack of balls throughout the match. However, he was keen to help his side with the defensive duties.
Anastasios Douvikas- (6.5/10)
Dimitris Pelkas- NA
Christos Tzolis- NA
Dimitrios Limnios- NA
Spain Player Ratings
Unai Simón– (7.5/10)- Simon did not have to make many stops in goal, but did well to keep out a headed effort. He was good with his passing.
Iñigo Martínez-(8/10)- The centre back looked assured in possession and also helped his side in attack, by winning the penalty in the first half.
Aymeric Laporte– (7.5/10)- Laporte wasn’t tested with his defensive capabilities as Spain dominated the ball for most parts. He was a notable threat in the set pieces.
José Gayà– (8/10)- Gaya was clever with his positional play and maintained a high line mostly. His attacking runs created spaces for other players in attack.
Dani Carvajal– (7/10)- The Real Madrid full-back spent the majority of his time on the pitch in the opposition half, linking up well with Sarabia. However, he received a yellow card for a cynical pullback.
Rodri- (7/10)- Rodri sat back as the stopper for Luis Enrique’s side in the first half and did his job well. He took a more attacking role in the second half pushing much further up the pitch.
Gavi- (7/10)- Another impressive performance from the 18-year old youngster, who put in a real shift in midfield hassling the Greek midfielders whenever they got on the ball.
Koke- (7/10)- Koke was the main engine for the Spanish side. His passing and off the ball movements were brilliant and he kept up with his impressive work rate for the entire 90 minutes.
Álvaro Morata- (6.5/10)- The striker had one shot on goal, which was a decent one. He did well in attack finding spaces behind the defenders.
Raúl de Tomás- (7/10)- Tomas was excellent in his first outing in the national shirt and created a number of chances during his stay on the pitch.
Pablo Sarabia– (7/10)- The PSG winger took the responsibility to score the penalty, and did so with considerable ease scoring with a powerful strike.
Dani Olmo- (6.5/10)
Pablo Fornals- NA