Spain claimed their biggest ever World Cup win and took pole position in Group E in a comfortable 7-0 victory over Costa Rica on Wednesday.
Dani Olmo opened the scoring with a neat turn and finish on 11 minutes to hand 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.
Costa Rice provided little in response, and their task became harder 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 scorer since Pele in 1954. Striker Carlos Soler came off the bench and netted 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 pivotal game for Germany who suffered a shock defeat to Japan earlier on Wednesday.
“We’re happy. We knew it would be a difficult 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’ll think about Germany, watch videos of how they play, and we’re excited to play. I don’t know if we’re candidates [to win the World Cup] but we have an extraordinary group, we’ll make things difficult, and we want to do big things.”
Spain were in control from the first kick, with Costa Rica dizzied by their early onslaught and unable to find any rhythm in a game where Pedri, Olmo, and Asensio dazzled.
Spain almost went ahead 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 the pivotal Pedri, who had 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 deftly lifted it over the 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 searched eagerly for a third and won a penalty on 31 minutes when Duarte tripped Alba, with Torres coolly stroking the ball down 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 defence that was all at sea.
Torres gave Spain a fourth and himself a brace 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 16 minutes from time with a sumptuous volley in off the post after from a floating cross from Alvaro Morata, then Soler and Morata completed the demolition with two goals in the dying minutes.
“All the positive energy the fans can send us is great. But tomorrow training starts to prepare for the Germany game,” Spain boss Luis Enrique told TVE. “Praise weakens you and we won’t fall for that. Our idea is to always play the same way, of course we won’t win the rest of the games scoring so many goals, but we’re a difficult opponent, anyone who understands football can see that.”