Spain recorded a comprehensive 7-0 win over a sorry Costa Rica side in their Group E opener on a night where Gavi became the youngest Spaniard to appear at a World Cup, and backed it up with a goal.
Following Japan’s shock win over Germany earlier in the day, all eyes turned to Luis Enrique’s side to see if they would suffer a similar upset against Costa Rica, the other two sides in Group E.
But, that never looked like happening, and Spain dominated the ball from the first whistle, opening the scoring after just 11 minutes when Dani Olmo fired into the corner past a despairing Keylor Navas.
The lead was doubled midway through the first half, as Marco Asensio swept home from the edge of the penalty area, before Jordi Alba was fouled in the area, allowing Ferran Torres to step up and slot home from the penalty spot just after the half-hour mark.
In truth, their opponents couldn’t get near them, chasing shadows for much of the encounter and dispelling any fears that Spain would follow Germany and Argentina in being on the wrong end of a shock result in their group opener.
Despite a change to a back 5 by Costa Rica at halftime, Spain’s dominance continued as they probed at will, adding a fourth and fifth through Ferran Torres and Gavi before substitute Carlos Soler steered home a sixth.
Into 8 added minutes, Alvaro Morata added to their misery with a event, before the referee called a halt to proceedings and finally put the CONCACAF outfit out of their misery.
Costa Rica didn’t manage a shot, becoming the first side in World Cup history since they themselves failed to do so in 1990, when they lost 1-0 to Brazil.
- GK: Unai Simon - 6: Had nothing to do with his hands and was probably the most bored man in the stadium.
- RB: Cesar Azpilicueta - 6: Wasn’t really tested from a defensive standpoint, but looked well beaten by the pace of Bennette whenever he got the ball. Solid enough in possession.
- CB: Rodri- 7: The decision to field him as central defender raised eyebrows but he was not tested defensively, allowing him to show off his brilliant passing range. Unclear if this will work against better opponents.
- CB: Aymeric Laporte - 7:
- LB: Jordi Alba - 8: Grabbed an assist for the second goal and was fouled for the penalty that handed Spain the third.
- CDM: Sergio Busquets - 7: Kept the midfield moving well, making 87 passes, and continues to outhink rather than outrun the opposition, who couldn’t get near him.
- CM: Pedri - 9: Ran the game in the first half and was integral to all things good in Spain’s build up. Rested before the hour with the score at 4-0 and his job done.
- CM: Gavi - 9: Became the youngest-ever player from Spain to appear at a World Cup, and didn’t look fazed at all. Grabbed the assist for the opener before adding a sumptuous volley for Spain’s fifth in a top all-round performance. Docked half a point for wearing the no.9 shirt in central midfield.
- RW: Marco Asensio - 7: Dovetailed well with the rest of Luis Enrique’s front 3 and took his goal superbly, though the goalkeeper will feel as though he should have done better.
- ST: Ferran Torres - 7: Didn’t have a great impact on the game but somehow walked away with two goals to take him joint top of the golden boot charts as it stands.
- LW: Dani Olmo - 8: Showed excellent ability for the first goal and was a constant threat as he drifted across the pitch to cause chaos in the Costa Rican ranks throughout the game.
- Carlos Soler - 7: Tidy when he came on but was never under any real pressure. In the right place at the right time to bury a sixth goal.
- Alvaro Morata - 6: Came on and linked play nicely while he took his goal well, but will feel like he should have had more.
- Alejandro Balde - 7: A brilliant enterprising run led to Spain’s fifth, and he looked totally comfortable in a Spain shirt despite his quick rise to prominence.
- Koke - 6: Replaced Busquets after an hour and kept things ticking nicely.
- Nico Williams - 7: Looked a real threat down the right hand side when he came on, grabbing an assist and playing his part in the seventh too.
- GK: Keylor Navas - 4: Looked incredibly rusty and will feel that he should have done better for both the second and the fourth goal.
- RWB: Carlos Martinez - 4: Had a torrid night as he was overrun by Alba in the first half. Substituted at half time.
- CB: Keysher Fuller - 5: A victim of an awful tactical plan, the defenders were woefully exposed across the entire game.
- CB: Oscar Duarte - 4: Was in no-mans land for most of the game and looked well off the pace.
- CB: Francisco Calvo - 4: Simply torn apart by the movement of Spain’s front three.
- LWB: Bryan Oviedo - 4: The first of several veterans horribly exposed by Spain’s pace and energy, Oviedo could do nothing to prevent the onslaught and was unable to chance his arm at a set piece either.
- RM: Joel Campbell - 4: His nation’s talisman, Campbell looked tired and never seemed to have the ball under control when dribbling.
- CM: Celso Borges - 3: Couldn’t get near the Spanish midfield, and the one time he did it resulted in him picking up a booking.
- CM: Yeltsin Tejeda - 3: Like Borges, was miles away from the Spanish midfield trio.
- LM: Jewison Bennette - 6: Was his side’s most exciting player but despite some strong runs he was forever isolated.
- ST: Anthony Contreras - 4: Hardly got the ball and spent much of the game chasing shadows.
- Kendall Waston - 4: Came on to shore up his side’s defence, but if anything they were more porous in the second half.
- Bryan Ruiz - 5: Became his country’s oldest-ever player at a World Cup but is well past his best and it showed against a youthful Spanish midfield.
- Alvaro Zamora - 5: Zamora touched the ball 10 times in half an hour. Had absolutely no impact after coming on.
- Brendan Aguilera - 5: The 19-year-old was thrust into the action, but could have no impact with the game already well over.
- Ronald Matarrita - 3: Was far too easily beaten for goals no.6 and 7 after coming on.