Spain recorded their biggest World Cup win after thrashing Costa Rica 7-0 in their Group E opener at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Dani Olmo had already shot narrowly wide during a dominant start before he made the breakthrough soon after, taking Gavi’s pass on the turn before lifting the ball over Keylor Navas.
Marcos Asensio, handed the central striking role, doubled Spain’s lead with a sweeping finish from Jordi Alba’s left-sided delivery and Ferran Torres converted a penalty just after the half-hour mark to put Luis Enrique’s side in control by the break.
Torres struck a fourth nine minutes after the restart and Gavi lashed a fifth but there was still time for more.
Substitute Carlos Soler made it six in the final minute and Alvaro Morata slotted an injury-time seventh as the 2010 winners made an ominous early statement of intent.
Result: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica
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The key moment of Spain vs Costa Rica
Olmo’s dreamy opener.
The RB Leipzig forward is a key component of Spain’s fluid attack given his ability to operate across the frontline and the goal that sparked the rout was especially worthy of close attention.
Spain worked the opening patiently, Pedri and Sergio Busquets involved in a one and two-touch passing move, but Olmo had his back to goal when Gavi dinked crucially into his path.
He took one deft touch on the swivel to evade his marker, before another one to dupe Navas and set Spain rolling.
That is delightful from Dani Olmo.
The first touch. The turn. The chip.
Spain lead Costa Rica, and deservedly so. #ESPCRC | #FIFAWorldCup
?️ @ITVFootball pic.twitter.com/mmHbPDEXZy
— The Athletic | Football (@TheAthleticFC) November 23, 2022
Player of the match — Pedri
Spain’s suffocation of Costa Rica was a collective punishment but Pedri pulled the strings for almost an hour until Luis Enrique gave him — and Costa Rica — a breather.
In 57 minutes of torment, the World Cup debutant created three chances, made 15 passes into the final third and chipped in with a trio of ball recoveries as he bossed midfield on the big stage.
Spain vs Costa Rica key statistic
Gavi shone alongside Pedri, with Spain the first European side to name two teenagers in their starting XI for a World Cup match since Bulgaria against England in 1962 (Jechev and Sokolov).
18 – Aged 18 years and 110 days, Gavi is the youngest goalscorer in a World Cup match since Pelé in the 1958 final against Sweden (17y 249d). Prodigy. pic.twitter.com/68uSD6IPnq
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 23, 2022
What does it mean?
Spain are seeking their first major trophy for 20 years but this was an eye-catching start to their bid for more glory on a day fellow heavyweights Germany were stunned by Japan.
That 2-1 reversal for Hansi Flick’s side, combined with Spain’s ruthless touch in front of goal, means Luis Enrique’s men take an early lead in Group E.
Spain face Germany next on Sunday, November 27 (19.00 GMT, 14.00 ET, 11.00 PT), while Costa Rica face Japan (10.00 GMT, 05.00 ET, 02.00 PT) earlier that same day.
See the full World Cup fixture schedule and all of the results so far.
(Photo: Getty Images)