In a historic 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica on Wednesday, the defending World Cup winners Spain broke the 100-goal barrier for the competition thanks to goals from Ferran Torres twice and Gavi.
Spain relentlessly attacked against a wobbly Costa Rican squad, giving Luis Enrique’s team the time and space to create opportunity after chance in a Group E that had been startled by Japan’s 2-1 triumph over Germany.
For a Spain team that has struggled at World Cups since winning the title in 2010, it was a night of milestones at Doha’s famed Al Thumama Stadium. Barcelona’s Gavi, 18, became the nation’s youngest World Cup player and the youngest to score since Brazil great Pele in 1958.
La Furia Roja were flawless in their assaults, with Pedri serving as the enabler behind virtually every play in a match in which Torres, Dani Olmo, Gavi, and Marco Asensio all shone. However, Costa Rica’s shoddy defence may have benefited Spain.
Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata scored late goals to give Spain their largest win margin ever at a World Cup, as Spain reached the 100-goal club.
“I don’t think it was Costa Rica being bad, I think the win was our merit. We deserved to win, taking the game to them,” Olmo said.
“Our team is strong and that is the path we need to follow. It was a boost of motivation, for sure.”
Spain took control of the match from the opening kick, leaving Costa Rica disoriented and unable to establish any rhythm.
Olmo and Asensio both had opportunities to put Spain in the lead, with Pedri serving as the provider.
They took the lead after 11 minutes when Olmo skillfully hoisted the ball over advancing goalkeeper Keylor Navas after man of the match Gavi had sent the ball into his path.
On the 21st minute, Jordi Alba’s deft ball across the box found Asensio, who shot low past Navas for Spain’s second goal.
Around the halfway point, Spain was given a penalty when Alba was hauled down. Torres raced to the spot before pausing to calmly touch the ball towards the centre.
After the interval, Costa Rica came back completely lost and managed no shots on goal during the game.
On the 53rd minute, Torres gave Spain a fourth goal after finding Gavi on the right. Gavi then sent the ball back to his Barcelona teammate, who turned and scored his second goal.
Before Soler and Morata scored goals in the last seconds to complete the rout, Gavi scored himself 16 minutes from time with a wonderful sprinting volley with the outside of his foot that clipped in off the post.
Gavi expressed his joy at breaking Pele’s World Cup goal-scoring record and becoming Spain’s youngest World Cup player.
“I didn’t know, I’m really proud of that, to be on that list, I’m really happy” he said. “Today we all had a great game.”
The last side to qualify for the World Cup through an intercontinental playoff, Costa Rica, may find it difficult to get any points in their final two matches against Germany and Japan.
Kendall Waston, a defender, said the group will have to unite and fight back.
“We feel hurt and ashamed, it’s a result that nobody wants to experience, to lose 7-0 in a World Cup,” he said.
According to his coach Luis Fernando Suarez, a far better squad outplayed his team.
“They kept the ball throughout the match. We did the exact opposite, we didn’t have possession, we didn’t really attack,” he said. “They played an amazing game and we didn’t.”