Spain thrashed Costa Rica 7-0 for their first opening World Cup win since 2006, marking the perfect start to a tough-looking Group E for coach Luis Enrique.
Knowing that Germany’s earlier defeat to Japan had blown the group wide open, and amidst raucous support from fans, it was Spain who started brightest.
The inclusion of Sergio Busquets, the last remaining player from La Roja’s 2010 triumph, and Manchester City’s Rodri, ensured dominance of the ball and this led to an early chance which arrived at the feet of Dani Olmo, though he sliced his volley wide after being expertly picked out by teen prodigy Pedri.
Olmo then made amends for his earlier miss with just 11 minutes gone, finishing yet another move started by Pedri and marking Spain’s 100th World Cup goal.
Enrique’s men applied constant pressure on Los Ticos’ penalty area and Asensio, Spain’s ‘Cesc Fàbregas-esque’ false-nine on the day, slotted past a stricken Keylor Navas before Ferran Torres tucked away his penalty, rounding off an outrageously dominant first half.
Partly due to the difficulty of their group, Luis Fernando Suárez’s Costa Rica side were given only a 9.8% chance of reaching the knockout rounds by Opta prior to the tournament – the lowest of any side.