Spain claimed their biggest World Cup victory and took pole position in Group E in a comfortable 7-0 win over Costa Rica on Wednesday.
Dani Olmo opened the scoring with a great spin and strike after 11 minutes to give Spain an early lead at Qatar’s Al Thumama stadium, and Marco Asensio doubled their lead 10 minutes later with a fine finish from Jordi Alba’s cross.
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Costa Rice responded little and their task was made more difficult in the 31st minute when Alba was brought down by defender Oscar Duarte in the box, and Ferran Torres converted the resulting penalty.
Torres added his second in the 54th minute when he capitalized on a slip in the Costa Rica defense before Gavi added another with a superb volley, making him the youngest goalscorer at a World Cup since Pelé in 1954. Forward Carlos Soler came from the bench and scored Spain’s sixth after 90 minutes, while fellow substitute Álvaro Morata scored the seventh moments later.
Spain, which last won the World Cup in 2010, takes on Germany on Sunday, a now pivotal game for Germany, which suffered a shock defeat to Japan on Wednesday.
“We are happy. We knew it would be a difficult game. It is true that at half-time we already had a great advantage but in a competition like this, goals can be useful, so we went for more,” Torres told Español. television channel TVE.
“Now we will think about Germany, we will see 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 do the difficult things and we want to do big things”.
Spain was in control from the first serve, with Costa Rica dizzy from their early onslaught and unable to find rhythm in a match 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 opportunity moments later, clumsily connecting the ball wide and sending it wide after being intercepted by center Pedri, who played a role in seemingly every attack for Spain.
They went ahead 11 minutes into the game when Gavi, who became the youngest player in Spain’s history at the World Cup at the age of 18, put the ball into the path of Olmo, who turned and deftly hit it. raised on the advance of goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Spain pressed hard for a second and succeeded on 21 minutes when a fine pass from Alba into the box found Asensio, who fired low and past Navas.
Spain eagerly sought the third and won a 31st-minute penalty when Duarte stumbled Alba, with Torres coolly caressing the ball down the middle and past a helpless Navas.
Spain returned from half-time hungry for more, with Asensio firing over the bar as Olmo’s dangerous runs tested a Costa Rica defense that was all at sea.
Torres gave Spain the fourth and himself a double on 53′, finding Gavi on the right, who returned it to the box for the Barcelona striker to turn and fire his second goal.
Gavi himself found the net in the final 16 minutes with a sumptuous volley to the post after a floating cross from Álvaro Morata, which Soler and Morata completed the demolition with two goals in the final minutes.
“All the positive energy that the fans can send us is great. But tomorrow the training begins to prepare for the game in Germany,” Spain coach Luis Enrique told TVE. “Praise weakens you and we are not going to fall for that. Our idea is to always play in the same way, of course we won’t win the rest of the games by scoring so many goals, but we are a difficult opponent, anyone who understands football can see that.”
Information from Reuters contributed to this report.