Does the thrashing of Costa Rica make Spain a candidate?
|Host Nation: Qatar Dates: November 20-December 18 Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day by day TV listings – Full coverage details|
Whatever England can do, Spain can do better… but does thrashing a hapless opposition in your first match really make someone an instant World Cup contender?
That should come in the next match, on Sunday against a German side who will be fighting for their future in this tournament after their shocking defeat against Japan.
There was still plenty to savor for Spain and their supporters at the Al Thumama Stadium, of course, most notably Gavi’s delicious volley to make it 5-0, but it was clear from the start that this was a giant mismatch and the scoreboard reflected the great gulf between the two sides.
Costa Rica were the last team to qualify for Qatar, thanks to a play-off win over New Zealand in June, but barring a big improvement, they look likely to be one of the first teams eliminated.
Spain broke them down too easily, sometimes right down the middle of the pitch, and the game was over as a game after just half an hour when Ferran Torres converted a penalty to make it 3-0.
They continued to push forward in waves in the second half and more goals followed even after Enrique made a number of changes, like England, some of his substitutes got involved in the scoring.
Costa Rica overpowered and overpowered
Costa Rica were not only outplayed, 241 to 1,043, they were also outplayed and failed to get a single shot on target. The closest has been four touches in the Spain area, two in each half.
Former England defender Gary Neville saw those woeful stats as a further sign of how bad the 2014 quarter-finals were, rather than how good Spain were.
“Well done to Spain, they’ve done their job,” Neville told ITV. “I didn’t think Costa Rica could get any worse in the second half, but they beat their performance in the first half. They hesitated. They were a mess.
“I can’t measure Spain in this at all. Costa Rica are the first team in 32 years without a goal on goal, that can’t happen.
“They’ve had several World Cups. Nothing today. I have no idea what happened.
“Spain keep the ball, we know that, but that’s so bad for a team that has a lot of experience.”
Former England goalkeeper Rob Green added on BBC Radio 5 Live: “Spain have been brilliant but I’m tempted to say this game won’t tell us much about them in this tournament. The strength of the opposition , Costa Rica has really done it.” t made it difficult
“They made it a walk in the park for Spain. Really, the substitutions Spain made in the second half, they were bloodied youngsters, with old legs resting; Costa Rica knew the game was over.”
Spain’s ‘perfect performance’
It could be argued, of course, that not allowing your opposition a sight of goal while you score seven yourself is not to be sniffed at, and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague preferred to focus on the positives for Spain.
Balague told 5 Live: “It was a perfect performance, you could see after three goals that Costa Rica had given up.
“But how many shots on goal for Costa Rica? Or attempts? Zero. You don’t get that kind of performance at the World Cup, just like you don’t get the kind of performance England did against iran
“We’re talking about the same level. They seem to be ahead of the rest at the moment.”
Should Spain enjoy a rare good start?
Perhaps it is better not to think about the magnitude of this victory for Spain and focus on the fact that, for once, they have started their World Cup with victory.
They had lost their opening match in their three previous tournaments, including in South Africa 2010, where they won it, and it was clearly unwise to jump to conclusions about their prospects at the time.
It’s Germany and Argentina who have been upset this time around, and in a tournament that has been full of shock results in its early days, young Spanish stars such as Gavi and Pedri instead sent a statement of intent that they could be the ones causing it. some surprises in the coming weeks.
Green added: “It’s what Spain needed. Coming into this tournament they had some questions, the young players came in, can they find and find answers? Well, it’s been perfect training for them because that’s pretty much what it has. been
“It hasn’t been a contest, it’s been a warm-up. There will be bigger games to come, but if you get over 1,000 passes in a game, it’s an incredible achievement.”
What was the Spanish sentence?
Understandably, the Spanish players seemed quite pleased with their performance, as well as the result.
Dani Olmo, who opened the scoring with what was Spain’s 100th World Cup goal, said: “I don’t think it’s a question of Costa Rica being bad. It was about our team being strong.
“I think the win was what we got. We deserved to win after taking the game to them. I think our team is strong and that’s the way we need to go. It was a confidence booster for sure.”
But managers rarely settle so easily and, just as England manager Gareth Southgate praised his side’s attack against Iran, he was unhappy to see them concede a couple of goals at the end, Spanish coach Enrique described his team as “exceptional” before adding that they can do it. better next time
“Our goal is to continuously dominate the game, and for that you need to have the ball,” Enrique told TVE.
“Your opponent gets tired and can’t get into it, our pressure has been exceptional and the 16 players we’ve used, although we still have room for improvement.”
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