1. Who is this guy?
Andres Iniesta is the player Barcelona fans discuss as possibly being the equal to Xavi Hernandez, but this isn’t a Hall and Oates situation (no offense, Oates). This is much more like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Or Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. Nobody’s getting Garfunkel’d here, Trebek (except, after that array of comparisons, possibly your author).
As a midfielder, Iniesta possesses the same technical gifts as Hernandez but applies them in differently. If Xavi’s the first player written on the chalkboard when you’re diagramming a formation, Iniesta might be the last, as his ability to play anywhere across the width of the pitch, from midfield forward, allows him to offset your weakness while attacking your opponents’.
2. How has he done in this tournament?
Iniesta started the tournament injured but has been one of Barcelona’s best players since, his positional versatility allowing coach Vincente del Bosque to maintain strong set-ups while working through some problems in his formation. Iniesta has Spain’s only non-David Villa open-play goal and has done the subtle things, like instigate the build-up for the goal against Portugal and win the corner kick that led to the Germany goal.
3. What’s his role going to be on Sunday?
Iniesta should play mostly on the left of midfield, sometimes moving into an a more forward position, but the insertion of Pedro into the starting lineup gives Spain so much positional flexibility that you’ll most likely see Iniesta without a set position, the forward players frequently swapping positions based as much on the flow of the match as any tactical advantages.
4. Which opponent will be his closest on-field match-up?
When on the left, right back Gregory van der Wiel’s athleticism will allow the young Dutch fullback to stay with Iniesta, but given Iniesta was matched-up against all-world fullback Philipp Lahm in the semifinals and still found a way to have an impact, van der Wiel will have a difficult return from suspension.