Fair results in the Croatia - Spain match. It doesn't reflect the match itself as Spain for me were the better side, but when you factor everything in Croatia won it fair and square. The penalty for Spain in my opinion shouldn't have been given because Aduriz pushed the Croatian player into I believe it was Silva. Were it not that for that it should have been given, but with the push no. So that for me nullifies the fact that the Croatian keeper was way off his line and the penalty should have been taken again. Like I suspected with my comment before having actually seen the match, based on what I could see on paper this isn't a big surprise. Del Bosque once again making some horrible decisions. It's 1-1 and he puts Bruno on for Nolito in the 60th minute? I understand taking Nolito off, but you don't put Bruno on for him. Like said after the last match, there goes the width, the only difference being in this match on the left side now. When you have Pedro on the bench you don't put a guy like Bruno in when you're pulling a wide player. Not to mention that you're now going defensive with a 1/3 of the match left to play and at a point where you've looked the better side. Aduriz for Morata I'm fine. The Thiago sub I get from a possession standpoint, but Koke gives you that as well along with more defensive work. Either way, bringing on Bruno yet again is a ridiculous decision. It amazes me the number of times I've read about Pep to name but one being overrated because of the talent at his disposal yet I rarely if ever read that about del Bosque. Cesc deserves some credit for this match. He had a very good first half and this was much better from him. Silva too has his best match this tournament. Both faded some after the first half, Cesc more so and of course he was taken out. Still they showed up for a change. Worst performances for me were clearly Ramos and de Gea. Ramos was again somewhat poor defensively. On Croatia's first he didn't pick up Kalinic either. On Croatia's second de Gea should have done much better on his near post despite the deflection which in my opinion shouldn't have mattered too much when you look at it for what it was. And both of them gave the ball away cheaply in the first which gave Croatia two of their best chances of the half. Ramos' shot on that penalty kick was awful as well, and that's regardless of keeper being tipped off as it was a horrible effort. I'll also have a go at Juanfran here since he's one who people like to overrate here. Perisic went by him on Croatia's second and he didn't pick him up. On top of that he was lagging behind the play after that the entire time. Pique stepped in defensively on that side a few times in this match. I'll leave it with Iniesta not having his best match. He wasn't bad at all, he simply didn't see as much of the ball. Full credit to Croatia for their work rate in this one, especially in the first half. They pressed Spain better than anyone else has thus far and they were doing it all over the pitch. On top of that they won without Modric and the supporters despite everything generally look a great bunch who really got behind the team in this match. I could see them going pretty far here depending on their bracket draw, but defense could be a concern. I respectfully disagree and to an extent I'm not sure you watched the match. You got some of it wrong, which I'll point out, and you also failed to provide context for some of your callouts. I'll start with Spain's first goal. Busquets wasn't even at the midway point of the pitch much less "popping up" on that goal to make a difference. That said he absolutely made a big difference on that goal and without him it's likely not scored. In fact how you of all people missed it surprises me. If you go back and look at the play it's the one-touch passing of both he and Iniesta that help get the ball out of the back. He specifically one-touches it back to Ramos and then when it goes to Iniesta he one-touches, with a player on his back, right to Busquets. Busquets then, and this is key, gets the ball forward immediately with a ball from the midway point of Spain's half to Cesc who is at about the midway point of Croatia's half. The ball essentially passes Croatia's midfield. Now Cesc smartly takes it immediately and goes on the attack, but essentially the combination of that coupled with Busquets' pass is that Croatia can't set up and Spain get the goal. So on the goal, and you won't get this on the replay, both Iniesta and especially Busquets factor in and they're both doing so from their own half. So Busquets isn't too deep in the buildup and without him you don't get that goal. Saying Busquets was parked between Pique and Ramos "the whole time" is an incredible overstatement. Sure he was there at times, particularly in the middle parts of the match, but not at all the whole time. In fact in the final third or so of the match he was the least as Bruno came on and Spain had some good spells of possession. On top of that when he was playing deeper it was out of necessity so you're not even putting his taking up that position into context. For starters you had Ramos going forward, largely to no avail, which left just Pique back. That's Busquets' job to cover there. You also have to give Croatia credit as they both attacked with greater numbers and pressed much better than any of Spain's previous opponents. Croatia's performance against Spain compared to those of the Turks and Czechs was like night and day. Pique wasn't involved enough? Pique was as involved in the buildup as the play allowed. I've already commented on Croatia's pressing. Additionally though, Pique was very advanced and quite involved for stretches in the second half when Spain had good possession in Croatia's half. Like Busquets he was as involved as play would allow and if Ramos is making the runs that I noted then of course he's not going to be getting forward more. He needs to stay back and cover and there's only one ball on the pitch at a time. All of that aside, Pique was easily once again Spain's best defender in this match and actually had a good match defensively. He was defending on the second goal, but I don't know what else he can do there. He played it perfectly forcing Perisic wide and leaving him with less of an angle and Pique is only as fast as he is. Yet he still got a slight deflection. You can go back and watch Pique with Spain historically and you'll get mixed results at best with Ramos outshining him, but that's not at all been the case this tournament. You're also wrong about Spain's play coming more from the left flank in this match than it did in the other matches. Go look at the heat maps from the previous two matches and you'll see that it's simply not true. Sure they show touches, but considering we're talking about Spain here it's pretty obviously not the case. Hell, just watch the matches and you'll see that's not the case. In fact if anything less of Spain's attack came from the left side in this match. Like I said, Nolito being pulled off left no one on that flank bar Alba really. At the end of the day this for me comes down to del Bosque more than anything as I noted above. You can also put it on Ramos as he was poor defensively and awful with that penalty kick. Again though, look at del Bosque. Why is Ramos taking freekicks? Why is he taking penalty kicks? Why is he starting when if he gets another yellow he's out in the first match of the knockout stage? You can make arguments agreeing with del Bosque on all of those points, but they're not necessarily good ones especially as regards the last two questions.