Spain achieved their biggest ever World Cup win, taking the wicket in a comfortable 7-0 win over Costa Rica in Group E on Wednesday.
Dani Olmo opened the scoring with a neat turn and finish on 11 minutes to give Spain an early lead at the Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar, and Marco Asensio doubled their advantage 10 minutes later with a well-taken finish from A Jordi Alba cross.
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Costa Rice offered little reply, and their task became more difficult on 31 minutes when Alba was brought down by defender Oscar Duarte in the box, with Ferran Torres converting the ensuing penalty.
Torres added his second on 54 minutes when he took advantage of some sloppy Costa Rica defending before Gavi added another with a superb volley, becoming the youngest World Cup goalscorer since Pele in 1954. Striker Carlos Soler came off the bench to score Spain’s sixth on 90. minutes, while fellow substitute Alvaro Morata scored a seventh moments later.
Spain, who last won the World Cup in 2010, face Germany on Sunday – a now crucial game for Germany who suffered a shock defeat to Japan earlier on Wednesday.
“We are happy. We knew it would be a tough game. It’s true that at half-time we already had a big lead, but in a competition like this the goals can be useful, so we went for more ,” Torres told Spanish TV station TVE.
“Now we will think about Germany, watch videos of how they play, and we are excited to play. I don’t know if we are candidates [to win the World Cup] but we have an extraordinary group, we will make things difficult, and we want to do big things.”
Spain were in control from the kick-off, with Costa Rica reeling from their early onslaught and unable to find any rhythm in a game where Pedri, Olmo and Asensio dazzled.
Spain almost took the lead after five minutes, when Pedri’s deep cross from the left found Olmo in space, whose shot went wide of the post.
Asensio squandered a clear chance moments later, connecting awkwardly with the ball and sending it wide after being picked out by pivot Pedri, who played a role in seemingly every Spain attack.
They went ahead 11 minutes into the game when 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 lifted it deftly over advancing goalkeeper Keylor Navas .
Spain pressed hard for a second and got it on 21 minutes when Alba’s neat pass across the box found Asensio who fired low past Navas.
Spain were eager for a third and won a penalty on 31 minutes when Duarte tripped Alba, with Torres coolly stroking the ball into the middle past the helpless Navas.
Spain returned from the break hungry for more, with Asensio firing over the bar as Olmo’s dangerous runs tested a Costa Rica defense that was completely at sea.
Torres gave Spain a fourth and himself a shot 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 in the 16th minute of time with a sumptuous volley off the post after a floating cross from Alvaro Morata, then Soler and Morata completed the demolition with two goals in the dying moments.
“All the positive energy the fans can send us is great. But training starts tomorrow to prepare for the Germany game,” Spain boss Luis Enrique told TVE. “Praise weakens you and we will not fall for it. Our idea is to always play the same way, of course we will not win the rest of the games with so many goals, but we are a difficult opponent, anyone who understands that football can see it.”
Information from Reuters contributed to this report.