Gavi marked becoming Spain’s youngest player at a major tournament with a goal in an emphatic 7-0 win over Costa Rica as La Roja began their Qatar 2022 campaign in record style.
Group E rivals Germany suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Japan earlier on Wednesday, but Spain did not look under any threat after Dani Olmo gave them an 11th-minute lead.
That was La Roja’s 100th World Cup goal and another two followed inside the opening 31 minutes through Marco Asensio’s strike and a Ferran Torres penalty.
Torres doubled his tally early in the second half and Gavi then steered in a delightful volley, before substitutes Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata added two more late on in Spain’s record win at the tournament.
Spain were well on top when Olmo controlled a deflected Gavi pass and lifted the ball over Keylor Navas for La Roja’s earliest World Cup goal since 2002.
Costa Rica struggled to get a foot on the ball and were two goals down with less than a quarter of the game played as Asensio swept home Jordi Alba’s left-sided cross.
Alba was also involved in the third goal, the full-back being felled by a clumsy Oscar Duarte challenge in the box for Torres to put Spain out of reach with his casual spot-kick.
Torres slotted under Navas after some poor defending from Costa Rica and Gavi then got himself on the scoresheet with an outside-of-the-boot volley off the post.
Soler guided goal number six out of Navas’ reach and fellow substitute Morata exchanged passes with Olmo before firing in to round off a superb Spain display.
What does it mean? Scintillating showing from Spain
Following shock defeats for Argentina and group rivals Germany in the opening round of games, Spain used this opener to put on a display and send out a message.
They scored seven goals in a World Cup match for the first time, with this the 2010 winners’ biggest ever win in the competition.
Costa Rica were poor and become only the second side since records began in 1966 to fail to register a shot – the other instance being… Costa Rica against Brazil in 1990.
Torres torments Costa Rica
Torres scored at least twice as many goals in qualifying (four) than any other Spain player and he brought that form into the tournament with his double.
The Barcelona forward is the third player to score twice on his World Cup debut for Spain after David Villa (v Ukraine in 2006) and Jose Iraragorri (v Brazil in 1934).
Gavi behind only Pele
Both sides named their youngest ever players in a World Cup match – Gavi (18 years, 110 days) for Spain and Jewison Bennette (18y, 161d) for Costa Rica.
While winger Bennette managed just two passes in his hour on the pitch, Gavi became the youngest scorer in a World Cup match since Pele (17y, 249d) in the 1958 final.
Key Opta Stats:
– Spain’s victory is the biggest World Cup win since Portugal beat North Korea by the same scoreline in 2010.
– This is Costa Rica’s biggest defeat in the World Cup, with them conceding as many goals in this match as they did in their previous eight games in the competition.
– Spain scored three goals in the first half of a World Cup match for only the second time in their history, also doing so against Brazil in 1934.
– Asensio became the 50th different player to score a goal for Spain at the World Cup (excluding own goals). It was only his second goal in his 32nd cap and ended a run of 14 games without scoring.
– Spain became the sixth nation to reach 100 goals in the competition’s history after Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Italy.
Spain face fellow heavyweights Germany, who enter that game needing a result, while Costa Rica take on Japan in Sunday’s other Group E match.