Player Ratings: Belgium 1-2 Spain

Ewan Macdonald weighs up the individual performers on show in the aftermath of Spain's thrilling 2-1 win over hosts Belgium in the World Cup qualifiers...

Casillas 7: Dealt admirably well with the long-range chances that came his way after the opener. Looked good on crosses until that howler at the end.

Sergio Ramos 7: Far more comfortable going forward than sitting back. Hopelessly caught out for Sonck's opener but repaid that debt with some fine crosses.

Puyol 7.5: Slow off his mark in the box and never at ease in the first half, but he came out a changed man in the second. Yes, Witsel quite clearly had him beaten for pace, but Puyol rediscovered his sense of positioning in time to twice save Spain from conceding. That is why he is selected, and that is what he did.

Juanito 6: Not the best of performances from the Bético. One of many caught out by through balls in the first half.

Capdevila 6: Another workmanlike showing from the Villarreal man, who saves his best form for club level.

Xavi 7: Xavi's performance was not a classic: he was always involved but the end product was at times lacking. Still, he remains dependable and integral to the line-up, even on his off-days.

Senna 5.5: Not his day at all - a dreadful first half and while he steadied as the game wore on this goes down as a rare off-day for the Yellow Submariner.

Cazorla 6: Like his teammate above, this was a day to forget for Santi, who showed the continent what he was capable of at Euro 2008 before seemingly forgetting his role here.

Iniesta 8: A lovely, lovely piece of individual skill for the goal, and some of his through balls were beautiful. However the fact that many of Belgium's attacks started down his flank cannot be ignored, even though he's not a defensive player.

Torres 7: Looked impressive until being taken off early for Cesc.

Villa 7: Found it difficult to get involved, and while he was always game he could produce little. That was, of course, until the very end. A real predator's goal for El Guaje, and this is why he is probably going to become Spain's all-time top goalscorer.


Cesc 7: Started very quietly but that was perhaps due to the fact that he was having to fulfil a dual role of midfielder and would-be forward. His close-work is good and his long shots are better.

Xabi Alonso 7: Succeeded where Cazorla and Senna failed. Did so without flash.

Güiza 7: Barely saw the ball, but his cross for Villa's goal was lovely.


Stijnen 7:
Nervy at times but did what was required of him in the first period before growing into his role in the second.

Vanden Borre 8:
Early on he was often found too far forward to deal with both Ramos and the ever-drifting Villa, but his attacking play was a joy to watch at times. To call him Belgium's Sergio Ramos would be a bit of a disservice because his powerful, bustling runs through the middle have a style all of their own. His defensive play improved towards the end, too.

Kompany 7.5: An impressively mature display from the Manchester City man, who is, dare I say it, en route to being a European great.

Van Buyten 6: An acceptable performance but one that was too physical at times. Hooked at half time for Daems.

Simons 6.5: Like Van Buyten his showing lacked subtlety, and he was almost made to pay on a couple of occasions. Still, he did enough.

Vertonghen 6.5:
Improved towards the end, but he's had better performances than this.

Fellaini 7:
Had he not given the ball away in such a dangerous area to lead to Iniesta's goal his rating would have been higher. A brash, confident display with some sweet passing. What an error, though, for the goal...

Vermaelen 6: Unspectacular, but not in a bad way. Did what was required of him for 87 minutes and never shied away from the tackle. His copybook was blotted terribly by the late goal from Villa, for which he was partially at fault.

Defour 6: A very quiet showing. Not his finest hour. Surprising that he stayed on the pitch.

Witsel 7.5: Sometimes lacked end product but there was no denying his energy nor his constant willingness to drive forward.

Sonck 7.5: A sweet header for the opener and some good movement off the ball, but he did fade towards the end.


Daems 5.5: Nowhere near imposing enough for a second-half substitute. While his positioning was good he seldom did anything with it, either on attack or in defence. One of those at fault for Villa's late goal.

Van Damme 6: Put himself about but was not decisive either way.

Gillet N/A

Ewan Macdonald,