Fourteen years ago, in a Eurocup, there was a match that made the fans fall in love with the national team. It was 3-0 in the semi-final against Russia, the beginning of everything that came after, something like playing football on the violin. Maybe it’s just an illusion, this has only just begun, but Costa Rica’s 7-0 defeat in their World Cup debut leaves us with the scent of good football. A style to be proud of. If we asked this group one thing, that they don’t betray themselves, that they play at the World Cup with the audacity of their youth and talent, the first match was enough to make us clear.
Because the recital went way beyond what the goals of Olmo, Asensio, Gavi, Soler, Morata and Ferran say, these two times. It came out of the first lineup where Luis Enrique returned to steal our wallets. From the false central to the false nine, this is how Spain was born into the game, with Rodrigo and Asensio in areas they don’t normally go. The City player was particularly surprising as his ownership only casts a shadow of doubt over pure central defenders like Eric Garcia or Pau Torres.
Guaranteeing better ball ability justified the coach’s decision, who also chose to leave Morata on the bench instead of Asensio in the attack. You know, the trompe l’oeil, that optical illusion that fools someone into believing they are seeing something other than what they actually see. Something that translated into football meant centrals Calvo, Duarte and Fuller didn’t know if Asensio was coming or going, if he was going up or down. That instead of firing a bullet it seems Galician, although no one is better for that than Iago Aspas, who is more Galician than the octopus.
In minute 4 came Pedri’s first pearl. He received and crossed with his right foot, instead of centering, he cradled a ball that came freely to Olmo with his shoe, whose first shot went cross. It was a flash, a connection in the blink of an eye that broke apart the defense of five at the behest of Luis Fernando Suarez. That was the way, there was no doubt about it. The Pedri thing isn’t my fallen-from-the-heaven philia. Two minutes later, the Barça player served another fine ball to Alba, now on the left, and two minutes later, another to Asensio, then through the centre. The Spaniard’s low shot came inches from the left post defended by his teammate at Real Madrid, Keylor Navas, until two seasons ago.
Ten minutes later, one miracle goal one of those that by itself serves to summarize the idea that a team has of football. Busquets, Alba, Olmo and Gavi triangulated so that the ball eventually reached Olmo who, in a turn on a tile, he placed the ball on his right leg to finish against Keylor at will. There’s someone trying to replicate that goal on the PlayStation right now…and they’re not succeeding.
But the best example of that virtue speeding up what had seemed like a lullaby until then came at minute 20. The Spanish attack backtracked to the trantran until Busquets Alba opened up; just then, the blaugrana accelerated the danger with an early bounce pass that Asensio, in the same way, that is, finish first, led to the net. And ten minutes later, the third came from a penalty on Alba that was converted by Ferran. It was 3-0, the fruit of a game of karats, the best way to make easy what is always extremely difficult, the debut in a World Cup. An overwhelming domain that translates into a figure Made in Mr Chip: the national team completed 549 passes in those first 45 minutes, the most ever in a match in World Cup history. Big words.
Costa Rica ran after the ball
At this point in the chronicle I have not mentioned Costa Rica, all that is certain is that the Central American team has suffered unspeakably and done enough to run after the ball. He could not even glimpse the coast with a long pass to Contreras, nor with a Campbell tackle; His coach, Suárez, was desperate on the wing, his gesture seeming to assume that at this point in the afternoon there was nothing left but to take the blow in the best way and think about how to heal wounds with the ahead of Sunday’s game against Japan. Hence, the five extra minutes with which referee Abdulla decided to extend the penalty hurt him enormously. At the end of the game, with eight minutes of extra time, the tear would still be running.
So was the long and grueling fifteen minutes of the break, as the dice had been thrown, even with the caution of knowing that what we have in hand is a World Cup. Especially when Spain’s fourth goal came in the early stages of that second half, perhaps the most confusing, the most suffered, but also for that, to fight for it despite having the win in their pocket, commendable. Ferran tried first but had no luck and pushed and recovered the ball to turn around and beat Keylor again. The Valencian was rewarded with the goal and with the break that was brought in, which was replaced by Morata barely three minutes later.
From there to the end Luis Enrique brought in Soler, Balde, Koke and Nico Williams trying to get everyone to the case, to invite them to the party crowned with the fifth, sixth and seventh goals of Gavi, Soler and Morata, to infect them with that game and sensations that will allow them to gain inertia for that miura that awaits on Sunday, who wants it was not another one that wounded Germany after the setback against Japan. There will be time to talk about it. For now, let’s finish the glass of cava and wipe all the confetti off the floor.
Kendall Waston (45′, Carlos Martinez), Alvaro Morata (56′, Ferran Torres), Carlos Soler (56′, Pedro), Alvaro Zamora (60′, Antoon Contreras), Bryan Ruiz (61′, Jewison Bennette), Straight away (63′, Sergio Busquets), Alejandro Bald (63′, Jordi Alba), Nico Willems (68′, Marco Asensio), Brandon Aguilera (71′, Celso Borges), Ronald Food drawing (81′, Brian Oviedo)
1-0, 10′: Daniel Olmo2-0, 20′: Marco Asensio3-0, 30′: Ferran Torres4-0, 53′: Ferran Torres5-0, 73′: gavi6-0, 89′: Carlos Soler7-0, 91′: Morata
Referee: Mohammed Abdulla Hassan
Arbitro VAR: Abdulla Ali Al Marri, Muhammad Taqi Al-Jaafari Bin Jahari
Francis Calvin (67′,Yellow) Campbell (96′,Yellow)