Andres Iniesta produced a man of the match performance in Spain’s 1-0 win over Czech Republic on Monday. Adam Bate was in Toulouse to see the latest masterclass…
“He played very well but I don’t think it’s about individuals,” said Vicente del Bosque afterwards. It was a nice try but nobody was convinced. Andres Iniesta was the best player on the pitch even before he’d curled a cross onto the head of Gerard Pique late on to ensure Spain kicked off their Euro 2016 campaign with a win over Czech Republic.
The man of the match award was adjudicated by a former team-mate of Iniesta’s in Carlos Marchena but there was no favouritism here. Just an acknowledgement from his fellow Euro 2008 squad member that the Barcelona midfielder continues to be the catalyst for his national team even eight years after that shared triumph. He’s never been more important.
The statistics told some, but not all, of the story. Iniesta found a team-mate with 85 of his 93 passes and created five chances. He completed more dribbles than anyone else and, of course, came up with the game-deciding assist. But it was the intent that separated him from the rest; the awareness that saw him speed up the game when it was needed.