January 29, 2023

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Spain vs. Costa Rica score: La Roja stick seven past Ticos, take Group E lead after blowout

Spain opened their FIFA World Cup campaign with a thumping 7-0 win over Costa Rica in Doha. La Roja announced themselves at Qatar with a masterful display against a woeful Ticos side as Ferran Torres scored twice.

The Spanish went ahead after just 11 minutes through Dani Olmo and it was 2-0 just 10 minutes after that as Marco Asensio converted from Jordi Alba’s ball in. Torres got his first from the penalty spot after Alba was fouled by Oscar Duarte and Luis Enrique’s men were 3-0 up at the break.

Keylor Navas endured a horrible afternoon at Al Thumama Stadium and it was made worse 10 minutes into the second half when Torres struck again. Gavi added a fifth 15 minutes from time with a wonderful finish from an Alvaro Morata assist off the bench to become the youngest World Cup goal scorer since Pele in 1958, but Costa Rica’s misery was not done there.

Substitute Carlos Soler added a sixth late on for Spain as they seized control of Group E in emphatic style with Morata adding a seventh for added gloss after an exchange with Olmo.

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Goals galore

The major question before Spain got underway was where the goals would be coming from and Luis Enrique’s men answered with six different scorers. Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, Ferran Torres (twice), Gavi, Carlos Soler, and Alvaro Morata all chipping in. Many of the goals were exceptional in terms of their technique too with Gavi perhaps the pick of the bunch as he volleyed home to become the youngest World Cup scorer since Pele.

Damage control

Costa Rica were always going to be up against it and reliant upon a tight defense and now they know that they are well and truly off the necessary pace at this World Cup. A rusty Navas was unable to rescue his side as the Spanish were relentless in their bombardment of Los Ticos’ goal. It is no longer a question of whether the Costa Ricans can survive in this group, but now a question of whether they can keep it respectable.

Youthful brilliance

Enrique has bet heavily on youth in areas with this Spanish squad and he was rewarded by brilliant performances from the likes of Gavi, Pedri, Olmo, and Torres to mention just a few. Sure, they do not have the same experience as some of their teammates like Jordi Alba, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Sergio Busquets, but their technical mastery is among the most exciting in the world right now and this was a frightening display for future opponents.

CONCACAF crisis?

Should Canada fail to beat Belgium, none of the CONCACAF representatives will have won in the opening round of games. The USMNT and Mexico both drew while Costa Rica has been blown out here. The Red Devils are no easy task for the Canucks, but they are now the regional hope for a first World Cup victory in Qatar.

Early favorites?

It is arguably too early to say and perhaps not the best game to draw conclusions from, but Spain looked very good. If they can perform similarly against the likes of Germany and Japan, then they will look even more legitimate. That clash next with the Germans is huge after Hansi Flick’s men lost to Samurai Blue.