Gavi became Spain’s youngest player at a major tournament with a goal in a 7-0 win over Costa Rica as La Roja kicked off their Qatar 2022 campaign in record fashion.
Germany suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Japan earlier on Wednesday, but Spain did not appear to be in danger after Dani Olmo put them ahead in the 11th minute.
That was La Roja’s 100th World Cup goal, and two more came within the first 31 minutes, via Marco Asensio’s strike and a penalty from Ferran Torres.
Torres doubled his tally early in the second half, and Gavi then volleyed in a delightful volley, before substitutes Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata added two more late in Spain’s tournament-record victory.
Spain was comfortably ahead when Olmo controlled a deflected Gavi pass and lifted the ball over Keylor Navas for the country’s first World Cup goal since 2002.
Costa Rica struggled to get a foot on the ball and trailed by two goals with less than a quarter of the game remaining when Asensio swept home Jordi Alba’s left-sided cross.
Alba was also involved in the third goal, as the full-back was brought down in the box by a clumsy Oscar Duarte challenge, allowing Torres to put Spain out of reach with a simple penalty kick.
After some poor defending from Costa Rica, Torres slotted under Navas, and Gavi scored with an outside-of-the-boot volley off the post.
Soler guided goal number six past Navas, and fellow substitute Morata exchanged passes with Olmo before firing in to cap off an outstanding Spain performance.
What does it imply? Spain delivers a thrilling performance.
Following shock defeats in the first round of games for Argentina and group rival Germany, Spain used this opener to put on a show and send a message.
They scored seven goals in a World Cup match for the first time, and this was the biggest win in the competition for the 2010 winners.
Costa Rica were poor, becoming only the second team since records began in 1966 to fail to register a shot, the other being Costa Rica vs. Brazil in 1990.
Torres tortures Costa Rica’s
Torres scored four goals in qualifying, more than any other Spain player, and carried that form into the tournament with his double.
After David Villa (vs. Ukraine in 2006) and Jose Iraragorri, the Barcelona forward is the third player to score twice on his World Cup debut for Spain (vs Brazil in 1934).
Gavi is second only to Pele.
Gavi (18 years, 110 days) for Spain and Jewison Bennette (18y, 161d) for Costa Rica were both named as the youngest players in a World Cup match.
While Bennette only managed two passes in his hour on the field, Gavi became the youngest World Cup scorer since Pele (17y, 249d) in 1958 final.
- Spain’s World Cup victory is the biggest since Portugal defeated North Korea by the same scoreline in 2010.
- Costa Rica has suffered its worst defeat in the World Cup, conceding as many goals in this game as they had in their previous eight games.
- For the second time in their history, Spain scored three goals in the first half of a World Cup match, doing so against Brazil in 1934.
- Asensio became the 50th different player to score a World Cup goal for Spain (excluding own goals). It was only his second goal in his 32nd appearance, and it snapped a 14-game scoring drought.
- Spain became the sixth country in competition history to score 100 goals, joining Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Italy.
What comes next?
Spain faces fellow heavyweights Germany, who enter the game needing a win, while Costa Rica faces Japan in the other Group E match on Sunday.