FIFA World Cup 2022: Young Spain rout experienced Costa Rica 7-024 November 2022
AP, Qatar :
Spain's young squad got off to a high-scoring start at the World Cup, routing an experienced Costa Rica 7-0 at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha on Wednesday night.
Not long after Japan surprised Germany 2-1 in the other Group E match, Spain avoided any chance of an upset with Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio and Ferran Torres scoring a goal each in the first 31 minutes.
Torres, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata added to the lead in the second half.
Olmo's goal was the 100th at World Cups for Spain, who became the sixth nation to score more than 100 times in the tournament. Also, it was the first time Spain had scored seven goals in a World Cup match.
With 18-year-old Gavi and 19-year-old Pedri starting, Spain became the first European nation with two teenagers in the starting lineup of a World Cup match in 60 years, according to statistics platform Opta. "Gavi then became the youngest goal scorer at the World Cup since Pelé in the 1958 final."
Gavi and Pedri were among the many youngsters picked by Spain coach Luis Enrique in a revamped squad in Qatar – the third-youngest team among the 32 nations, after the US and Ghana. The young duo helped Spain control the pace of the match from the start at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Costa Rica looked overwhelmed from the start in its third straight World Cup campaign. They came to Qatar hoping to repeat their surprise run to the quarterfinals in 2014 in Brazil, and avoid a repeat of their participation four years ago in Russia when they were eliminated in the group stage after not winning any matches.
Spain, which did not get past the round of 16 in Russia, are trying to break through with a major title after making it to the final of the Nations League and the semifinals of last year's European Championship. This year the team also qualified for the Final Four of the Nations League for a second straight time.
Spain's last major triumph came at Euro 2012, two years after they had won their lone World Cup title in South Africa.
Only five countries scored more goals than Spain at the World Cup – Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Italy and France.
After this match, Spain are at the top of the points table of Group E and Japan are right behind them.