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A new favorite for the 2022 World Cup?

The Spanish team has both an anniversary and a record!

The Spanish national team defeated Costa Rica in a big way in the first round of the group stage of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. It seems that it was the most convincing victory of the top team at the tournament, and all the fears about the Spaniards before the tournament are no longer relevant.

Luis Enrique wanted to experiment – but it didn’t work out

Spain’s chief streamer Luis Enrique surprised: The Spanish team went into the match without their strikers. Various attacking players appeared sporadically in the “false nine” position: Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres, Gavi, and Marco Asensio. The status of the unconditional favorite allowed the Spaniards to experiment, but the staff did not abandon some previously forced decisions: for example, Busquets appeared in the center of defense. This expanded the range of coaching decisions regarding the use of a hybrid scheme with Sergio in midfield.

But were these experiments necessary? Costa Rica, who obviously came out to defend and snap back, did not bring Spain much trouble. Although, after Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina and Japan’s victory over Germany (both 2-1), it seemed that such results would inspire all the underdogs.

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In the first half Spain had as much fun as it could: exploding at times, not overextending itself, controlling the ball and the tempo, and scoring a variety of goals. On 11 minutes Olmo opened the scoring – Dani took advantage of a partner’s throw into the penalty area, tucked the heavy ball away with his back to the net, turned, and headed it over the goalkeeper. Very elegant! This goal was the 100th for the Spanish national team at the world championships.

After 10 minutes, Asensio has already distinguished themself: The Real Madrid player received the ball from the Barça player (Alba) and calmly put it into the goal of Navas. After that, it became clear that Costa Rica had no chance in this match. And the third goal didn’t take long either. Another 10 minutes later Alba slipped into the penalty area and got on his feet – and an absolutely uncontested 11-meter penalty was realized by Torres.

Spain’s big win put it in first place in Group E, with Japan trailing. Germany and Costa Rica have zero points so far. It looks like the battle for the playoffs will be interesting. At least I’d like to believe that after Week 1.

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