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Thiago fails to dazzle as Spain ties Morocco 2-2, narrowly winning Group B

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A late equalizer, granted by VAR, enabled Spain to steal the group win from Portugal.

Spain v Morocco: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Despite the fact they enjoyed 75% of possession, it was not a good match for Spain. The Spaniards made errant passes and lack creativity in attacking Morocco’s defense, instead using crosses to try to define the game. The most important event of the match was the video review in the 91st minute, which validated the equalizing goal by striker Iago Aspas that had previously been disallowed by the assistant. The resulting 2-2 draw made the 2010 World Champions the winners of Group B.

Already eliminated, Morocco played well in defense, blocking their opponent’s powerful midfield and denying Spain the space to create. In the first goal, the Africans took advantage of a Sergio Ramos giveaway, and Khalib Boutaib scored the second after a beautiful cross. However, the African team used too many fouls to contain the Spaniards and finished the game with no fewer than five yellow cards.

Thiago Alcantara started for Spain this evening in Kaliningrad and played for 73 minutes, but his performance was disappointing. The Bayern playmaker completed all but one of his passes (basically lateral passes), but he produced no thrilling highlights. Very little, for a player who has been reported as a potential target of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

You can see one of Thiago’s two shots below: