Barcelona youngster Gavi made a solid impression as Spain played out with a 1-1 draw with Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal.

Spain’s run of six consecutive wins on the international stage came to an end as they played out a 1-1 draw with Portugal on Thursday. The result sees the two sides kickstart their UEFA Nations League campaign with a point each.

Heading into this contest as the slight favourite, Spain predictably dominated the game at home. They had the greater share of possession and were able to create far more scoring opportunities than Portugal. However, the hosts lacked the end product in the final third, with the players missing a host of excellent goalscoring opportunities.

In fact, Spain ended up mustering the same amount of shots on target as their opponent despite registering more attempts and possession. The game was theirs to win as well after Alvaro Morata handed them a 25th-minute lead by showcasing an excellent bit of interplay with Gavi and Pablo Sarabia.

Spain had opportunities to kill the game. But their lack of productivity upfront turned out to be costly as Portugal equalised in the 82nd minute through Ricardo Horta. Jordi Alba had a late chance to restore Spain’s lead but his header went wide of the mark, thus leading to a draw.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides in their hard-fought encounter in Sevilla this midweek.


Unai Simon: 7/10

Unai Simon made a couple of excellent saves in the second half to keep his team in the contest. It was a strong showing from the goalkeeper, who is looking to become the number one for Spain in the absence of David de Gea.

Cesar Azpilicueta: 5/10

Cesar Azpilicueta had a slow start to the game. He was quite shaky with the ball and should have done a better job defensively on multiple occasions. He did improve as the game progressed but it was far from a convincing performance from the veteran.

Diego Llorente: 6.5/10

Diego Llorente looked in good touch at the start of the Spanish backline. He was in charge of the defensive third and made life difficult for the likes of Andre Silva. His aerial prowess remains unrivalled, with the Leeds United star also offering the leadership.

Pau Torres: 6.5/10

Pau Torres completed Llorente in central defence. Hard-working as ever, the Villarreal centre-back kept things neat and tidy at the back, barring a few minor moments of uneasiness.

Jordi Alba: 6/10

Jordi Alba should have done a lot better in converting the late opportunity that came his way. Aside from the miss, the left-back did make offensive forays into the final third but was not quite able to make a telling impact.

Sergio Busquets: 7/10

Sergio Busquets broke Xavi’s tally to become the third-highest appearance maker for the Spanish national team. He marked the special occasion with a calm and composed performance in the middle of the park. The veteran never seems to disappoint, even in the twilight of his career.

Carlos Soler: 5/10

Carlos Soler was another Spanish player that missed an excellent goalscoring opportunity. Starting in midfield, the Valencia star was not able to make the desired impact either and was subbed off around the hour mark.

Gavi: 8/10

Gavi was the star of the show in this difficult encounter for Spain. Despite being only 17, the youngster approached this game with sheer confidence and looked very comfortable in possession. He played a crucial role in the build-up to the opener and created numerous other opportunities for his team.

Gavi’s ability to thread passes in behind the backline could make him a major asset for both club and country in the years to come.

Pablo Sarabia: 6/10

Pablo Sarabia linked up well with Morata in the build-up to the opener, ultimately registering the assist. He certainly looked promising, at times with his attacking forays but struggled to maintain consistency.

Alvaro Morata: 6.5/10

Alvaro Morata showed his ingenuity as a centre forward by playing dummy to Gavi’s through ball that found Sarabia, who ended up assisting his opener. The former Real Madrid man was dangerous all night for the Portuguese defence, although one would expect a bit more productivity from the striker.

Ferran Torres: 5/10

It was yet another disappointing performance from Ferran Torres. The Barcelona forward made minimal impact on the night and struggled to make his presence felt in the final third. He was subbed off around the hour mark, as he made way for Dani Olmo.


Dani Olmo: 5/10

Olmo was not able to make the desired impact after coming on for Torres around the hour mark, but he will be hoping for a start in the next game.

Koke: 6/10

Koke added more stability to the Spanish midfield after replacing Soler around the hour mark.

Raul de Tomas: N/A

A late replacement for Morata. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Marcos Llorente: N/A

A late replacement for Gavi. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.


Diogo Costa: 4/10

Diogo Costa looked extremely sloppy during the initial stages of the game. But he made up for it with some excellent bit of goalkeeping, showcasing good composure and anticipation.

Joao Cancelo: 6/10

Joao Cancelo had a slow start to the game. He was not able to make a difference going forward, but he stepped to the plate late in the game, as he produced an excellent cross for Ricardo Horta for the equaliser.

Pepe: 6/10

Pepe’s lack of pace made it difficult for him to keep up with his former Real Madrid teammate Morata. But he was solid enough in defence and prevented Spain from finding consistent openings at the heart of the Portuguese defence.

Danilo Pereira: 5.5/10

Danilo Pereira was operated in central defence, ahead of Domingos Duarte. The PSG midfielder stuck to his task, though it was far from a convincing display as struggled to keep up with the pressure throughout the game.

Raphael Guerreiro: 6.5/10

Raphael Guerreiro created an early opening using his neat footwork. His technical prowess, coupled with his ability to rotate possession quickly made him an asset for Portugal’s approach play. Unfortunately for the Borussia Dortmund defender, he was not offered support in the final third.

Joao Moutinho: 5/10

Operating as the holding midfielder in a rather attacking setup, Joao Moutinho did not enjoy a good game in the middle of the park. He looked off the pace against the energetic Soler and Gavi and was hooked off at half-time.

Bruno Fernandes: 4/10

Bruno Fernandes lacked the pace to outrun Gavi for a loose ball that led to Spain’s opener. Aside from that, the Manchester United star once again struggled to make an impact in a big game. He looked largely anonymous and failed to offer the creative essence in the final third.

Bernardo Silva: 5/10

Bernardo Silva did not fare any better against Spain. He looked anonymous as well and there was a lack of urgency in his game. He barely made an impact on the proceedings despite playing the full ninety minutes.

Otavio: 4/10

Fernando Santos’s decision to start with Otavio did not pay off. The attacker was completely anonymous and offered little to no threat in the final third. It gravely affected Portugal’s approach play, as he was eventually subbed off around the hour mark.

Andre Silva: 6/10

With Cristiano Ronaldo starting on the bench, Andre Silva was tasked with the responsibility to spearhead the Portuguese frontline. The RB Leipzig striker produced a hard-working shift but struggled to find the end product.

Rafael Leao: 6.5/10

Rafael Leao looked the most promising attacker in the Portugal setup and notable deceived two defenders to force a save out of Unai Simon in goal. The AC Milan superstar deserved better attacking support in the final third.


Ruben Neves: 6/10

Ruben Neves offered more mobility in the Portugal midfield after replacing Moutinho at half-time. The move did work, to an extent, although the visitors were not able to control the midfield.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 5/10

Cristiano Ronaldo did not make the desired impact after coming on for Otavio around the hour mark.

Goncalo Guedes: 5/10

Goncalo Guedes was another attacker that looked ineffective after coming on during the final phase of the game.

Ricardo Horta: 6/10

Ricardo Horta was at the right place at the right time to score the late equaliser for Portugal. It was the first international goal of his career and the attacker will be hoping it is the first of many.

Matheus Nunes: N/A

A late replacement for Fernandes. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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