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FIFA World Cup 2022 Recap: Spain 7, Costa Rica 0

2GY65F4 Ferran Torres of Spain looks on during the Uefa Nations League semi-final match between Italy and Spain .

A dominant Spain recorded the biggest win of the World Cup so far, defeating a lackluster Costa Rica 7-0. 

Spain started quickly, with midfielders Pedri and Gavi causing problems for the Costa Rica defenders. Goals from Olmo, Ascensio and a penalty by Ferran Torres all but ended the game around the half-hour mark. 

Even though they were in cruise control for the majority of the second half, the Spaniards still added four more to their total, a sublime finish from Gavi the highlight. Arriving untracked at the edge of the box, the Barcelona man timed a perfect volley with the outside of his boot, the ball clipping the inside of the post on its way into the bottom corner.

Spain came into the game as heavy favorites but will hope their commanding victory makes a statement about their intentions for the rest of the tournament. 

Expected Goals (xG): Spain 3.37, Costa Rica 0

Costa Rica became the first side not to record a shot attempt in a World Cup game since Italia '90, and they never looked likely to. Their few ventures into their opponent’s final third were immediately thwarted by a solid, if unchallenged, defense. Meanwhile, Spain outscored their xG, clinically converting seven of their 17 shots. 

Man of the Match: Gavi, Spain

Man of the Match could have gone to any of Spain’s creative midfielders, but Gavi stood out among the rest. He received the second-most line-breaking passes (15), which accounted for a fifth of all his receptions in the game, and he capped his performance with an excellent goal.

Best Passer: Pedri, Spain

Spain completed 1,011 passes in the game, a high for the tournament so far and one that looks unlikely to be beaten. Spain’s most threatening playmaker was Pedri. The Barcelona player completed 14-of-16 line-breaking passes and three key passes, including a perfect over-the-top ball to Olmo in the opening minutes to provide a chance the winger should have buried. All of this contributed to him finishing the game with a 97.7% pass completion percentage.

Best Challenger: Marco Asensio, Spain

Not generally thought of for his tackling prowess, the forward won 80% of his challenges. Coupled with his 16 successful pressures, he was a thorn in the side of the Costa Rica backline whenever they were able to wrestle the ball away from their opponents.

Goalkeepers

It’s hard not to have some sympathy for Keylor Navas, given that Spain was constantly on the attack, but he struggled under the pressure. He should have kept out Ascencio’s first-time shot for Spain’s second goal and generally looked uncomfortable when called into action. 

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