Spain thrashed Costa Rica 7-0 on Wednesday, their biggest ever winning margin at a World Cup, helped by two goals by Ferran Torres and strikes by five other players to send a resounding message to the rest of the teams in Qatar.
Spain were mindful of the shock defeats suffered by Argentina and Group E rivals Germany against lower opposition in their opening matches and they tormented Costa Rica from the start, going 3-0 up after little more than 30 minutes.
Dani Olmo got the goals flowing in the 11th minute when he exchanged passes with Gavi and chipped Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Ten minutes later, Marco Asensio timed a run into the box perfectly to connect powerfully with a Jordi Alba cross.
Torres stroked home his penalty in the 31st minute and the Barcelona winger claimed his second in the 54th when he took advantage of hesitant defending. Gavi, the youngest player to represent Spain at a World Cup, struck with a perfectly hit volley in the 74th minute before substitutes Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata rounded off a totally one-sided encounter.
Spain's forward Alvaro Morata (C) celebrates scoring his team's seventh goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha. REUTERS