Playing against some exalted company in the Spain midfield, Claudio Marchisio outshone his illustrious opponents as the Azzurri began their UEFA EURO 2012 campaign by drawing with the holders in Gdansk.
While Spain goalscorer Cesc Fàbregas (8.99) and Andrés Iniesta (8.3) made the top three in the Castrol Edge Index, neither could trump the Juventus man. The 26-year-old, playing in a five-man midfield, posted a score of 9.15 courtesy of a display which showcased all aspects of his game.
Marchisio illustrated why he scored a career-best nine goals at club level this season with two on-target shots, more than any of his team-mates, one of them being a left-footed volley which stung Iker Casillas’s palms before half-time.
He ably assisted his defenders as La Roja’s front three, none of whom was an orthodox forward, tried to unpick the Italy lock. As well as blocking a goal-bound Xavi Hernández effort, the Turin-born player also recovered possession effectively whenever a Spain attack broke down.
His work rate should also be highlighted – only Italy debutant and club-mate Emanuele Giaccherini covered more of the pitch than his 12,179m.
Castrol Edge Index: Spain v Italy
1. Claudio Marchisio (ITA) 9.15
2. Cesc Fàbregas (ESP) 8.99
3. Andrés Iniesta (ESP) 8.3
4. Xabi Alonso (ESP) 8.24
5. Sergio Ramos (ESP) 8.18
0 – Second-half goals Italy had conceded in the 2010-2012 UEFA European Championship prior to the Group C opener.
1 – Uncapped at any level, Emanuele Giaccherini made his international debut at left wing-back.
2 – Number of Spain players who made over 100 passes – Xavi Hernández (113), Sergio Busquets (115) – a feat which had only previously been achieved in a UEFA European Championship finals game by one other Spain player, Josep Guardiola.
5 – Saves made by Iker Casillas, the same number he made in seven qualifying appearances.
672 – Passes completed by Vicente del Bosque’s ensemble, almost double Italy’s tally of 341.
Cesc Fàbregas, Spain midfielder
A draw is not that bad after having gone a goal down because it’s all up to us now. With two victories we can still get first place. We are happy.