News Matches

Spain v Costa Rica Live Commentary, 23/11/22

FT
7 - 0
ESP
CRC
Dani Olmo (11)
Marco Asensio (21)
Ferran Torres (31 pen)
Ferran Torres (54)
Gavi (74)
Carlos Soler (90)
Álvaro Morata (90+2)
Al Thumama Stadium

Commentary

That's all from Al Thumama Stadium today, so thank you for joining us and goodbye!
While Spain can take the confidence gleaned from this record-breaking performance into their encounter with Hansi Flick's embattled Germans, a shell-shocked Costa Rica side will surely not relish taking on Japan, who acheived one of their nation's greatest World Cup wins of all time earlier today.
Though met by little in the way of resistance, Spain put on a passing masterclass in their opening match of the 2022 World Cup, and show a clinical side in hitting hapless Costa Rica for seven. After Olmo's early goal broke the deadlock, Luis Enrique's side pushed forward relentlessly and dominated the ball to an almost comical extent - the Costa Ricans barely had a kick, and failed to manage even a single shot at goal. With several young starlets impressing for La Roja, the stage is now set for a seismic clash with Germany this weekend.
90' + 9' FULL-TIME: SPAIN 7-0 COSTA RICA
J. Campbell
Yellow Card
Costa Rica
90' + 7' For bringing down Balde with a late challenge just outside his own area, Campbell is booked.
90' + 6' CLOSE! Gavi opens up space and plays the ball through for Soler to strike from inside the area, but the substitute flashes his effort just wide of the right-hand post!
90' + 4' We are now in the fifth minute of eight indicated for stoppages at the end of the second half - can Spain find an eighth goal? Their intensity had lessened, but a couple of late strikes has whetted the appetite and they're flooding forward now.
Dani Olmo
Assist
Spain
90' + 2' Returning a sharp pass from Morata, Olmo completes a clever one-two on the edge of the box to set up Spain's seventh goal.
Álvaro Morata
Goal
Spain
90' + 2' SPAIN STRIKE SEVEN! Morata gets in on the act now, as his run off the defender's shoulder is met with a precise throughball from Olmo, and he then slots the ball past Navas and into the bottom-left corner! Spain 7-0 Costa Rica!!
Carlos Soler
Goal
Spain
90' SPAIN HIT SIX! Substitute Soler adds another for La Roja, as Navas can't fully clear a low cross whipped over from the right by Williams, and the Valencia midfielder coolly steers the ball into the bottom corner from close range! That puts Spain 6-0 up, and Costa Rica just want this game to end!
87' The intensity has understandably dropped now, as Olmo drifts a chipped cross towards the far corner, which is headed away to relative safety by Costa Rica.
84' Spain have scored five or more goals in a World Cup match for just the third time today, after 1986 v Denmark (5-1) and 1998 v Bulgaria (6-1).
R. Matarrita
B. Oviedo
Costa Rica
82' A difficult day for Oviedo comes to an end, as Matarrita replaces the veteran defender.
81' Navas drops down quickly at his near post to save with his legs, after Morata slips his marker and powers a low shot towards goal from 10 yards. The Spain striker is then flagged for offside in any case.
79' Out of nothing, a series of pushes and shoves between players from both sides sees Waston receive a stern talking-to by the referee, but no further action is taken.
77' As Spain go five goals in front in their Group E opener, with the clock ticking down, opponents Costa Rica have yet to record a single attempt at goal!
Álvaro Morata
Assist
Spain
74' Morata clips the ball across for Gavi from the left side of the box; setting up Spain's fifth goal of the game.
Gavi
Goal
Spain
74' GAVI GETS THE FIFTH! Spain's record breaker steers home a delightful volley from just inside the box, using the outside of his boot to guide the ball home via the right-hand post! Not only La Roja's youngest-ever player at a World Cup, the Barcelona wonderkid adds a goal from Morata's cross! Spain 5-0 Costa Rica!
73' Finally, Campbell picks up the ball in space, on the left side of Spain's area, but he soon sees the flag go up to indicate he is offside.
B. Aguilera
C. Borges
Costa Rica
72' Aguilera gets a taste of World Cup action; Borges makes way.
70' Azpilicueta whips over a high ball towards the left side of the area, but Olmo can't get any power on his header back across goal and Navas calmly plucks the ball out of the air.
Nico Williams
Marco Asensio
Spain
69' Asensio is now taken off by Luis Enrique, as Williams comes on for the final 20 minutes or so.
F. Calvo
Yellow Card
Costa Rica
68' For a crunching challenge on substitute Soler, Calvo becomes the first player to receive a yellow card today.
66' Despite all the substitutions, little has changed in terms of either possession or territory: Spain are still totally on top.
Koke
Sergio Busquets
Spain
64' Busquets receives a warm round of applause as he wanders to the touchline, to be replaced by Koke.
Alejandro Balde
Jordi Alba
Spain
64' Replaced by his club-mate Balde on the left flank, Alba is the latest Spanish player to be rested.
63' WIDE! A cute throughball by Azpilicueta towards the right side of the area finds Morata in some space, but the Spain striker thumps the ball wide of the right-hand post from an ever-closing angle.
B. Ruiz
J. Bennette
Costa Rica
61' Teenage record-setter Bennette is also withdrawn, with the far more experienced Ruiz thrown on in his place.
Á. Zamora
A. Contreras
Costa Rica
61' Suarez opts for a double substitution to freshen up his weary team. First, Contreras makes way for Zamora.
59' Waston blocks Morata's attempted shot from just inside the box, as Costa Rica's grim effort at keeping the score down continues.
Carlos Soler
Pedri
Spain
57' Luis Enrique also rests Pedri for the challenges ahead, as Soler comes on in midfield.
Álvaro Morata
Ferran Torres
Spain
57' Shortly after scoring his second goal, Torres makes way; Morata is offered a run-out in his place.
Ferran Torres
Goal
Spain
54' FOUR FOR SPAIN! Aided by some awful defending, Torres strikes again to put Spain 4-0 up with his 15th international goal. Having bundled his way into the box, Oviedo fails to deal with the forward's turn and allows him to turn the ball past a helpless Navas from close range!
53' Another last-ditch clearance sees Olmo's clever cutback from the right hacked away from the six-yard box.
52' Alert to the danger, Fuller makes an important clearance in the centre of his own box, after Torres drives a low ball across the face of goal from the right.
50' Aside from another white-shirted defender filling in at the back, very little has changed from the first half, as Spain monopolise the ball and Costa Rica sit back.
48' Off balance, from the edge of the box, Asensio sends a powerful effort scudding over Navas' crossbar.
K. Waston
C. Martínez
Costa Rica
46' Suarez has called upon further defensive reinforcement at the interval, as Martinez is replaced by Waston for the second half.
46' Costa Rica kick off, and we are back under way in Al Thumama!
Following their second-half implosion earlier on today, Germany are set to trail both Japan and Spain in Group E, which leaves things perfectly poised for Sunday's clash between the two European nations.
An exhibition of all that's admired about Spanish football puts La Roja into an unassailable lead in their World Cup opener, and with the second half still to play, surely all three points are already assured. Bringing up their nation's century of World Cup goals, Spain took the initiative early thanks to Olmo and went on to dominate events throughout. It has been mesmerising stuff at times, but a timid Costa Rica's passivity has certainly helped.
45' + 6' HALF-TIME: SPAIN 3-0 COSTA RICA
45' + 5' Duarte makes a last-ditch sliding challenge to deny Asensio a clear strike at goal from 10 yards out. It was an excellent covering intervention, but the trigger should have been pulled a little eariler.
45' + 3' Spain opt to keep the ball patiently at the back, but an opening then arises and Rodri finds Gavi with a straight pass outside Costa Rica's box. However, the talented teenager makes a rare error of execution and steers the ball harmlessly across a vacant penalty area.
45' + 1' The fourth official indicates that a relatively conservative five minutes have been added to the first half for stoppages, as La Roja's onslaught goes on.
44' The entire Costa Rica team are camped within no more than 40 yards of their goal at the moment, as they aim to avoid going further behind before the break.
42' Asensio almost picks out Olmo on the edge of the box, as another rapid Spain move nearly unlocks the weary Costa Rica defence. The Central American side are merely hanging on for a merciful half-time whistle here.
40' A threatening ball across the six-yard box by Azpilicueta almost finds the toe of Torres, but instead bobbles away from everyone clad in red and away from immediate danger.
38' Oviedo receives a long ball from Campbell on the left side of the box, but his lofted cross is then comfortably headed away by Rodri.
36' Over the past few minutes, Costa Rica have been able to inch several yards further up the pitch and have threatened Spain's defensive third on a couple of occasions - out on the left, Bennette is starting to trouble Azpilicueta.
34' Following a free-kick from out on the right flank, Campbell can't quite get the ball under control inside the Spain area, and is then flagged for offside when he finally gets a toe on it.
33' Spain have now scored three goals in the first half of a World Cup match for only the second time in their history - the first was back in 1934!
Ferran Torres
Penalty Goal
Spain
31' SPAIN LEAD BY THREE! Outfoxing Navas with a skip at the end of his run-up, Torres dinks the ball into the back of the net from the penalty spot and puts his nation three goals to the good!
29' PENALTY FOR SPAIN! On his latest burst into the box, Alba tempts Duarte into a desperate lunge, and goes down when the latter catches his heel. The referee doesn't hesitate - that's a spot-kick for Spain!
28' Alba is continually popping up near the left byline, functioning as an auxiliary winger. He can afford to do so, given Spain's near-total dominance.
25' Spain continue to press forward with their rhythmic passing and swift movement, to which the hapless Costa Ricans have had no answer so far.
23' In scoring their 101st goal at the global finals, Asensio also becomes Spain's 50th different player to find the net at a World Cup.
Jordi Alba
Assist
Spain
21' Alba manages to find time and space to lift his head on the left side of Costa Rica's area and whips across an accurate low ball for Asensio to steer past Navas.
Marco Asensio
Goal
Spain
21' ASENSIO STRIKES! Spain go 2-0 up! Alba's low cross from the left edge of the area slices through the rather static Costa Rica defence, and Asensio reacts first to sweep the ball home via a desperate fingertip from Navas. The veteran goalkeeper can only guide it into the bottom corner, and his side trail by two!
19' Campbell gives up a promising position on the right by wandering down a cul-de-sac, and after he cuts back inside finds himself crowded out by numerous red shirts. There has been little for the Costa Rica contingent to get excited about yet.
17' As a measure of their supremacy so far today, Spain have had 87 per cent of possession over the first 15 minutes of their Group E opener.
15' A strong burst from teenage winger Bennette down the left earns Costa Rica a free-kick inside the Spain half when he is bundled over; offering a welcome breather from their defensive duties.
13' Without missing a beat, after opening the scoring Spain resume their utter dominance of the ball, and their opponents are simply chasing shadows at the moment. It's mesmerising stuff from Luis Enrique's men!
Dani Olmo
Goal
Spain
11' SPAIN LEAD! As reward for their incessant attacking from the first whistle, La Roja go ahead early on! Gavi finds a yard of space just outside the area and chips a delicate ball over the top, which then deflects into the path of Olmo, who calmly steers the ball past an exposed Navas! Spain's 100th World Cup goal puts them 1-0 up!
9' CLOSE! A masterful first-time reverse pass by Pedri picks out Asensio in the centre, but the makeshift forward snatches at his shot, which drifts just wide of the right-hand post with Navas diving down to his left at full stretch.
7' Fuller blocks Olmo's cross from the left side of the area, and Costa Rica are able to break up the Spanish attack and clear their lines.
5' MISS! A perceptive ball across from the left-centre by Pedri drops perfectly into the path of Olmo, who charges in to meet it at the far post. However - unmarked - he side-foots the ball wide of the left-hand post before grasping his head in his hands! That's a great chance spurned early on!
4' Laporte is over-eager in his attempts to win the ball from Campbell inside the Costa Rica half, and concedes a free-kick.
2' Immediately, Spain take control of possession, and Oviedo has to make a well-timed challenge on the left side of the box to tackle Torres and concede a corner.
1' Spain kick off, and we are under way in Al Thumama!
The players are out on the pitch, having observed both national anthems, and kick-off is now just moments away!
Costa Rica also select their youngest-ever player in a World Cup fixture, as winger Bennette - just 51 days older than Spain's Gavi - features on the flank. Ruiz has played in eight World Cup matches across the 2014 and 2018 editions, and will tie Christian Bolanos as Los Ticos' record-holder in terms of appearances should he come on from the bench.
As expected, Spain have named their youngest ever player to play in a World Cup match, as Gavi (18 years 110 days) features in a midfield trio, joining club-mates Busquets and Pedri. Meanwhile, Manchester City midfielder Rodri starts at centre-back, with Asensio selected ahead of Morata to play in the centre of a front three - though Luis Enrique says his position should not be described as a 'false nine'. Azpilicueta beats Carvajal to a start at right-back.
SUBS: Esteban Alvarado, Daniel Chacon, Anthony Hernandez, Douglas Lopez, Ronald Matarrita, Bryan Ruiz, Youstin Salas, Patrick Sequeira, Gerson Torres, Juan Pablo Vargas, Johan Venegas, Kendall Waston, Roan Wilson, Alvaro Zamora.
COSTA RICA (5-4-1): Keylor Navas; Carlos Martinez, Francisco Calvo, Oscar Duarte, Keysher Fuller, Bryan Oviedo; Joel Campbell, Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Jewison Bennette; Anthony Contreras.
SUBS: Robert Sanchez, David Raya, Alejandro Balde, Dani Carvajal, Ansu Fati, Eric Garcia, Hugo Guillamon, Koke, Marcos Llorente, Alvaro Morata, Yeremo Pino, Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler, Pau Torres, Nico Williams.
SPAIN (4-3-3): Unai Simon; Cesar Azpilicueta, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Jordi Alba; Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Gavi; Ferran Torres, Marco Asensio, Dani Olmo.
Costa Rica first competed in the World Cup finals in 1990, when they managed to reach the last 16, before being eliminated at the group stage in both 2002 and 2006. Four years ago, Los Ticos also departed after three games, though they famously reached the quarter-finals in 2014 - finishing ahead of Uruguay, Italy and England to qualify for the knockout phase. Coach Luis Fernando Suarez is now making a third World Cup appearance in the dugout, having also led Ecuador and Honduras into global finals, and his team's 1-0 win over New Zealand in June's intercontinental play-offs helped Costa Rica become the last team to qualify for Qatar.
Champions for the first time in 2010, Spain get their latest World Cup campaign under way here, having been eliminated in the group stage and then exited in the last 16 during the past two finals. Beaten by hosts Russia four years ago, La Roja have since reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020 under former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique. More recently, they concluded their Nations League programme with a 1-0 win over Portugal in September, which saw them finish top of their group and advance to next year's semi-finals.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's World Cup Group E clash between Spain and Costa Rica at Al Thumama Stadium!