Spain players celebrate scoring their seventh goal in their 7-0 win over Costa Rica. /AFP

Spain players celebrate scoring their seventh goal in their 7-0 win over Costa Rica. / AFP

Spain run riot in Qatar, thrashing Costa Rica 7-0 in World Cup opener

Luis Enrique’s side made a real statement of intent after an impeccable performance on Wednesday

SHAY CONAGHAN

Spain got their 2022 Qatar World Cup off to a flying start as they obliterated Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening group stage game on Wednesday.

The match couldn’t have gone any better for Luis Enrique’s side, whose initial starting eleven had many questioning some of his choices.

7 Spain
0 Costa Rica

    The main points of concern were Rodri, normally a holding midfielder, playing in defence, and the attacking line lacking an out-and-out striker, which is usually Morata, who was relegated to the bench.

    Quick off the mark

    La Roja didn’t waste any time in getting the goals flowing. After an initial spell of domination, which was always going to be the case against a smaller opposition, Dani Olmo opened the scoring within the first ten minutes. He picked up a loose ball just inside the Costa Rica box before completing a 180-degree turn to then dink it over goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

    The first goal didn’t cause a reaction in the Central Americans, who continued to soak up the pressure that they were under from a hungry Spain side.

    Marco Asensio doubled La Roja’s lead in just ten minutes, putting the ball away into the bottom corner after connecting with a low-driven Jordi Alba cross.

    Luis Enrique’s men got a well-deserved third goal on the half-hour mark when Ferran Torres converted a penalty.

    Second-half massacre

    Even though the game was practically over by half-time, Spain came out for the latter 45 minutes without any signs of slowing down. Luis Enrique made no substitutions as he remained confident in the starting eleven.

    As Spain continued down the same path in the first half, Ferran Torres picked up his second goal of the evening by taking advantage of a mix-up in the Costa Rican defence, which allowed him to slot the ball under Navas, who was slow to react.

    That gave way to the first waves of changes, with Luis Enrique bringing off Torres and Pedri, arguably the man of the match.

    Gavi, who had become Spain’s youngest ever World Cup player, made it five goals for La Roja with an incredible finish with the outside of his boot that saw the ball bounce off the post and into the back of the net.

    Carlos Soler and Álvaro Morata also got their names on the scoresheet with barely five minutes left to play, as they took advantage of a severely deflated Costa Rica team to round out the score to 7-0

    Even though this is only the first game, Spain’s convincing win means that they are top of the group despite Japan’s shock 2-1 win over Germany a couple of hours earlier.

    La Roja play the Germans on Sunday at 8pm, but the young team must be cautious of not getting too big for their boots.