The Spanish national team made their debut in the 2022 World Cup with a spectacular 7-0 win over Costa Rica in the Group E opener in Doha. Luis Enrique’s troops were brilliant from start to finish, scored several very good goals and made a big statement to show Spain are serious contenders in the tournament. Five Barcelona stars started and Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Pedri, Gavi and Ferran Torres all played very well as La Roja looked really, really good.
The stage was set from the very beginning: Costa Rica were going to drop deep and defend for their lives, and Spain was going to have all of the possession and try to break down what has always been a very stubborn defense.
La Roja needed to be patient and precise with their passing, and move bodies in the final third to create chances. And they did exactly that: from the opening second the Spanish played excellent attacking football, with the midfield moving the ball quickly from side to side and the front three being active and decisive with their play.
Getting an early goal was always the key, and they got two: the first came in the 11th minute after a nice passing sequence down the left wing, a very nice assist by Gavi and a great finish from Dani Olmo; 10 minutes later, Spain got their second thanks to a perfect low cross by Jordi Alba and a smart finish from Marco Asensio.
The perfect first half continued when Alba was brought down inside the box, and Ferran Torres became the first Barça player to score in Qatar with a confident penalty against Keylor Navas to make it 3-0 and kill the game off after a half-hour.
The halftime whistle came to end a dream start for Spain, but a World Cup full of upsets showed that they couldn’t let their guard down and there was still work to be done in the second half.
It didn’t take long for Spain to truly put the game to bed: just nine minutes in, after a nice run and cross from Gavi, Ferran won the ball inside the six-yard box and scored a very nice spinning goal to get his second of the night and make it 4-0.
The final 40 minutes were a cruise for the winners and Luis Enrique quickly took off four of the Barça players who started and gave a Spain and World Cup debut to Alejandro Balde, which was a very special moment for the youngster.
Even though they weren’t as dominant and scintilating in the final minutes Spain continued to attack and look for more goals, and they got a fifth thanks to a sensational volley by Gavi after a cross from Álvaro Morata to improve their goal difference even more. There was still time for more, as Carlos Soler was first to the rebound from a Navas save to make it six and Morata joined the scoring party with a seventh in added time.
The final whistle came to end a sensational night for La Roja, who are already very close to qualification thanks in large part to their goal difference. Up next is a meeting with Germany, and Spain will not only qualify but possibly eliminate the Germans with a win. And on today’s evidence, they are clearly favorites in that one. This team looks scary good.
Spain: Simón; Azpilicueta, Rodri, Laporte, Alba (Balde 64’); Gavi, Busquets (Koke 64’), Pedri (Soler 57’); Ferran (Morata 57’), Asensio (Williams 69’), Olmo
Goals: Olmo (11’), Asensio (21’), Ferran (pen 31’, 54’), Gavi (75’), Soler (90’), Morata (90+3’)
Costa Rica: Navas; Martínez (Watson 46’), Duarte, Calvo, Oviedo (Matarrita 82’); Fuller, Borges (Aguilera 72’), Tejeda, Bennette (Ruiz 61’); Campbell, Contreras (Zamora 61’)