World Cup: Enrique rejoices in Spain’s team of goalscorers
Spain scored seven as they thrashed Costa Rica (Getty)

If upsets have been the overriding feature of the opening days of this World Cup, then this was the first ominous statement from one of the big boys. England and France may beg to differ but Spain’s thrashing of Costa Rica was another level entirely.

This was an emphatic victory over feeble opponents that will possibly raise expectations of Spain. Brazil, Portugal and Uruguay have yet to take to the field in this tournament but none of them will take part in such a one-sided game as Luis Enrique’s team did at Al Thumama stadium.

Germany dramatically fell to Japan earlier in the day in Group E and after the shock came the awe. Spain were sumptuous, playing keep-ball and making awfully light work of a World Cup match. This was the first time they had won their opening game in four attempts.

By the end, Enrique was laughing as he sat in the dugout, and rightly so. He has mustered together a young squad, threaded with talented playmakers and featuring the odd experienced head. That mix could prove fruitful as they surely emerge from the group and into the knockout rounds.

Gavi became the World Cup's youngest goalscorer since Pele (Getty)

Scoring seven and not even conceding a shot at goal, let alone a goal itself, was a remarkable way to start and brought about their biggest-ever World Cup triumph. The goals being shared amongst numerous attackers was also welcomed by Enrique, who started Marco Asensio as a false No.9 in a 4-3-3 formation.

We don’t have one striker who scores many goals,” Enrique said. “But we have lots of players who score goals and I have never been worried about the lack of goals. We are always the highest scorers in competitions.”

They are a team who certainly know their way to goal and how to find the back of it too. It’s worth remembering that Spain registered both a 5-0 and 5-3 in last summer's European Championship where they reached the semi-finals.

Thanks to Dani Olmo, Asensio and Ferran Torres (twice), substitutes Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata, and also the precocious Gavi, Spain reigned against Costa Rica.

It was Gavi’s performance that was most notable, however. The 18-year-old became the youngest Spain player to play in a World Cup match and then became their youngest goalscorer in the competition. In fact, the midfielder’s brilliant volley with the outside of the foot which went in off a post saw him became the youngest World Cup goalscorer since Pele 64 years ago.

Gavi is a unique player. He is 18 but he has the personality of an experienced player,” his manager said. “He’s a boy who needs a little bit of calm sometimes. But we are happy to have him in the team and he’s going to be one of the stars of world football.”

Spain’s opening game couldn’t have gone much better. “This was a very special game for us and we wanted to start the competition in the best way possible,” Enrique added. “We don’t start well [in tournaments]. We almost never win the first game, but we have managed to break that.

Enrique watched his team score seven without reply (Getty)

“I don’t want to speculate [on whether Spain can knock Germany out on Sunday]. Germany is an amazing team. We have to be calm, even though we have had a big victory. I don’t think they had one chance. We dominated from the first minute and we created spaces to have good chances.

'We have to forget this result'

Costa Rica certainly were hospitable opponents. The central American team, who were the last side to qualify for the World Cup courtesy of a narrow play-off win over New Zealand, started badly and got worse. They shunned the ball, tried to sit and hold out in a 4-4-2 shape that became 5-4-1 after the break but this aged team were left exposed and taken apart. It was almost cruel.

I am feeling very sad,Luis Fernando Suarez, the Costa Rica manager, said. “There’s no doubt about that. I had very different expectations for this match. Spain played an amazing game and we didn’t. We have players who are better than today.

“We have to forget about this result and start thinking about the next game, however difficult that may be.”

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