Isco's fame knows no bounds. When he came out onto the pitch, the Israeli fans gave him a rousing ovation. He was a major danger to their team, but they knew they were going to see something special. The home players knew it too, but they were there to stop him. From the off. Right from his first touch of the ball, Cohen let Isco know he was there. The Spanish midfielder's next two moves were also stopped by fouls. But Isco didn't give up. He asked for the ball constantly, and he constantly send it on his team-mates, who saw in him a leader. This is a player in permanent form right now. Born as an exquisite trequartista he's turned himself into an sublime, hard-working midfielder.
Isco the best in Israel v Spain
His performance redeemed a very boring game. With rotations and favours Lopetegui came up with a team with a fair amount of new faces, and one which didn't hang well together. Footballers need to know each other to play decently. The group yesterday lacked the automatic moves and developed lines of play that come from regular football together. Aduriz suffered most, lost in the centre of attack. No doubt Lopetegui put him on, trusting in Spain's strength down the wings and the crosses from the right and left backs, but they never arrived. Israel were to blame in part, as they sat right back. They had a few decent moves up the pitch, but for the most part they were sitting back.
A superb goal from Illarramendi
Spain won in the end, scoring in the phase where Isco was at his finest. The goal came from a corner, which bounced out, where it was met by Illarramendi's perfect half-volley back in, into the top corner. It was a tremendous strike, which beat a decent dive from keeper Harush, who had denied Spain several goals previously. The goal will do Illarramendi good; he needs confidence in his football at the very top, something he lacked at Real Madrid. It was good for Spain too, who go to Russia with a decent chance of being in pot 1, although it's not guaranteed. Either way, they'll be going in fine form.