Wednesday Nov 23, 2022
DOHA: Former champions Spain got their World Cup off to a pulsating start on Wednesday through a record 7-0 win over a shell-shocked Costa Rica, with an early Dani Olmo strike taking his country past the 100 goal mark in football's showpiece event.
The European giants put their stamp on a Group E stunned by Japan's 2-1 victory over Germany hours earlier, with Spain relentlessly on the attack against a shambolic Costa Rican side.
Scores from Dani Olmo, Gavi, Marco Asensio, Carlos Soler, Alvaro Morata and Torres sent Spain into the 100 club of World Cup goals — and a victory by their biggest margin in their 16 appearances in the contest.
"I don't think it was Costa Rica being bad, I think the win was our merit. We deserved to win, taking the game to them," Olmo said.
"Our team is strong and that is the path we need to follow. It was a boost of motivation, for sure."
Spain were in control from the first kick, with Costa Rica dizzied by their early onslaught at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha and unable to find any rhythm in a game where Pedri, Olmo, Gavi and Asensio all dazzled.
Spain almost went ahead after five minutes, when Pedri's deep cross found Olmo in space, whose shot went wide of the post. Asensio squandered a clear chance moments later after being picked out by the pivotal Pedri, who had a role in seemingly every Spain attack.
They went ahead 11 minutes into the game when man of the match Gavi, who became Spain's youngest ever World Cup player at the age of 18, put the ball into the path of Olmo, who turned and deftly lifted it over the advancing keeper Keylor Navas.
Spain got it on 21 minutes when Jordi Alba's neat pass across the box found Asensio who fired low past Navas.
Spain searched eagerly for a third and won a penalty around the half hour mark when Oscar Duarte tripped Alba, with Torres coolly stroking the ball down the middle past the helpless Navas.
Costa Rica were all at sea and failed to record a single attempt on goal, while Spain returned from the break hungry for more
Torres gave Spain a fourth and himself a brace on 53 minutes, finding Gavi on the right, who played it back into the area for the Barcelona forward to turn and fire home his second.
Gavi found the net himself 16 minutes from time with a sumptuous volley in off the post after from a floating cross from Alvaro Morata, then Carlos Soler and Morata completed the demolition with two goals in the dying minutes.
Costa Rica defender Kendall Waston said he felt hurt and ashamed by the thrashing.
"It's a result that nobody wants to experience, lose 7-0 in a World Cup," he said. "We need to stand up together and fight back in the two games that are left."
Costa Rica's coach Luis Fernando Suarez said his was outplayed by a far superior side.
"They kept the ball throughout the match. We did the exact opposite, we didn't have possession, we didn't really attack," he said. "They played an amazing game and we didn't."