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Ranking of the 5 best Spanish players against Costa Rica

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Luis Enrique’s fiery Spain began their journey to the 2022 FIFA World Cup with an emphatic 7-0 win over Costa Rica at Al Thumama Stadium on Wednesday night (23 November). Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, Alvaro Morata, Carlos Soler and Gavi each scored a goal in the opening Group E game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Spain, while Ferran Torres netted a brace.

Enrique’s side wasted no time getting into the rhythm. They passed the ball quickly and dodged Costa Rican tackles, frustrating the opposition with their movement and awareness. They created their first scoring chance after just five minutes.

Olmo met Pedri’s perfectly weighted delivery at the far post. Unmarked, Olmo went for goal with a side-footed effort but couldn’t keep it on target. Four minutes later, Asensio tried his luck from the centre. Like Olmo, the Real Madrid striker also failed to keep his shot on target.

Spain’s relentless pressure finally paid off in the 11th minute, when Olmo perfectly controlled Gavi’s deflected pass and sent the ball over Keylor Navas and into the net. Ten minutes later, Asensio used his magic left foot, applying a first time to Jordi Alba’s low ball from the left channel.

Just before the half hour mark, Costa Rican central defender Oscar Duarte unnecessarily knocked Alba into the box. The referee, without hesitation, pointed to the spot. Barcelona ace Torres sent in a confident penalty to put Spain 3-0 up. The Spaniards finished the first half with a whopping 85% possession, completing 537 passes.

Nine minutes into the second 45, the 2010 FIFA World Cup winners extended their lead to 4-0. Torres took advantage of Costa Rica’s lackluster defense to flick the ball past a helpless Navas from close range. Enrique made a flurry of substitutions, but that in no way dampened the heavyweight’s style of play. They continued to torment the opposition with their intricate touches and perfect passes.

In the 74th minute, substitute Morata clipped the ball for Gavi just inside the box. The 18-year-old applied a superb first-time finish to make it 5-0 for Spain. The party, however, wasn’t quite over for La Roja. Substitute Soler scored the sixth in the 90th minute before Morata netted the seventh three minutes later.

It was a Spanish win at the Al Thumama Stadium, with the 2010 winners picking up their biggest ever FIFA World Cup victory. Here are five Spanish stars who stood out in their assertive win over Costa Rica on Wednesday:


#5Gavi

Spain v Costa Rica: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022Spain v Costa Rica: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Spain v Costa Rica: Group E – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

At 18 years and 108 days, Gavi became the youngest World Cup debutant for Spain on Wednesday night. In the 74th minute he became the youngest Spanish player to score in the tournament. Receiving a dinked pass from Morata just inside the box, Gavi confidently sent a superb volley outside the box. He cut the inside of the post before waving the netting.

On the day he becomes the youngest Spanish player in World Cup history, 18-year-old Gavi scores a perfect volley 😍😍

On the day he becomes the youngest Spanish player in World Cup history, 18-year-old Gavi scores a perfect volley 😍

As well as marking his World Cup debut with a stunning goal, Gavi played a key pass, won seven duels, committed five fouls and completed 66 passes (90.4% accuracy).


#4 Dani Olmo

Spain v Costa Rica: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022Spain v Costa Rica: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Spain v Costa Rica: Group E – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Apart from his failure in the fifth minute, Dani Olmo had a perfect game against Costa Rica. He showed impeccable control to knock down Gavi’s deflected pass in the 11th minute and applied exquisite finishing to send the ball past Navas. Olmo also played a neat brace with Morata to set up the Atletico Madrid man in injury time.

Against Costa Rica, Olmo also played a key pass, won two ground duels and attempted two tackles.


#3 Pedri

Spain v Costa Rica: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022Spain v Costa Rica: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Spain v Costa Rica: Group E – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Barcelona star Pedri led the show in the middle of the park for the Spanish Armada. His passing was impeccable, he created goalscoring chances at will and rarely lost possession (only three times). Pedri showed class on his FIFA World Cup debut, giving fans hope for a bright future.

Pedri’s first half in numbers against Costa Rica:

96% pass accuracy
74 keys
69 passes completed
3 key passes
3/4 long balls finished
1/1 ground duels won

Creator. 🎨🎨

Pedri’s first half in numbers against Costa Rica: 96% passing accuracy74 touches69 passes completed3 key passes3/4 long balls completed1/1 ground duels wonCreator. 🎨

On Matchday 1 of Group E, Pedri played three assists, delivered four precise long balls and won both of his ground duels. He also completed 86 passes (96.6%), attempted two tackles and created a big chance.


#2 Jordi Alba

Spain v Costa Rica: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022Spain v Costa Rica: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Spain v Costa Rica: Group E – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Veteran Spanish full-back Jordi Alba rarely made a mistake against Costa Rica on Wednesday. Alba’s passing accuracy, as well as his reach, was exquisite. He held his own in one-on-one battles. And, more importantly, he played a direct role in two of La Roja’s three first-half goals.

The Barcelona left-back smartly picked Asensio for his 21st-minute goal and then won a penalty 10 minutes later, which Torres saved.

In Game 11 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Alba played a key pass, delivered five accurate long balls, won three ground duels and made two interceptions. He also completed a stunning 100 passes (93.5% accuracy) and completed one dribble.


#1 Ferran Torres

Spain v Costa Rica: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022Spain v Costa Rica: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Spain v Costa Rica: Group E – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Barcelona striker Ferran Torres had a wonderful FIFA World Cup debut, scoring two well scored goals. The striker opened his goalscoring account from the penalty spot in the first half. Torres sent Navas the wrong way with a jump at the end of his run and calmly slid the ball into the left side of Costa Rica’s goal.

Torres’ second strike came in the 54th minute. The former Manchester City man showed great awareness to capitalize on the chaos inside the Costa Rican penalty area and roll the ball past a helpless Navas. The brace aside, Torres completed a dribble, won two ground duels and was fouled.

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Edited by Sushan Chakraborty
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By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org