MadridThere is not much difference between a normal Wednesday and a match Wednesday. At five in the afternoon, Madrid lives with the same bustle as on any other weekday. The squares are filled with children leaving school and the traffic soars, partly to take the little ones to extra-curricular activities or because people are already leaving work. Spain plays, but not much attention is paid to it. Neither the match against Costa Rica has much of a poster nor the World Cup, which has just started, is in the phase of maximum public interest. Without giant screens and offering the duel in the open, those who are attracted to the Red they hesitate whether to watch it at home or in a bar. The score, the thrashing, even though it was unexpected (7-0), also does not contribute to putting epic in a game that can be very transcendent in this first phase of the tournament, in terms of classification, due to the unexpected defeat of Germany against Japan; but that live has passed without pain or glory in the capital of the kingdom.
The selection has more Barça players than ever before, up to eight, and five have been starters against a Costa Rica that was quickly nullified by the control, dominance and offensive vocation of the Spanish team. With Alba on the side and Ferran Torres on the wing, the midfield was the work of Busquets, Pedri and Gavi. Three Blaugrana who understand each other perfectly and have done what they wanted in their debut at the World Cup in Qatar. The rival was not the most powerful, but still the Red he didn’t get bogged down and played a complete game from the first to the last minute. Not a single shot on goal ticos, not a dangerous arrival, not a corner in favor. And only 25% possession.
Keylor Navas, an old acquaintance of Spanish football, was back under the posts after a long period of inactivity. Not on purpose: he has lost his starting role at PSG. The former Madrid goalkeeper has shown that he lacks competitive pace and, although the game in Spain has been a whirlwind, he has not been able to help his team with the usual reflex stops. Dani Olmo collected a good inside pass from Gavi to open the scoring, Marco Asensio finished off a Jordi Alba cross from the front and Gavi forced a penalty which Ferran Torres converted. With half an hour of play it was all over.
Luis Fernando Suárez, the coach tico, had ordered a defense of four that has been converted into a line of 5 when he had already conceded three goals. He stopped the bleeding momentarily, but in the second half, again with 4, the Spanish team once again had a freeway to the attack. Luis Enrique must have had few games as comfortable as the one that allowed him to score nine times and score seven goals. The four in the second half, the work of Ferran Torres, rescuing a play at the second post; from Gavi, with a majestic finish with the outside of the foot; by Carlos Soler, taking advantage of a goalkeeper’s refusal, and by Morata, through Dani Olmo.
A perfect match from Spain against Costa Rica
With the defeat of Germany, Spain had a golden opportunity to play with the psychological aspect. He has not only added the three points, he has also scored in case there is a hypothetical tie on points. The dominance was so evident that at the break many bars were left with half the capacity, taking the job for granted. Perhaps the problem is that everyone has seen it so easy that there is a risk of not recognizing the merits of completing 90 flawless minutes at a World Cup.
Luis Enrique, energetic and nervous in the first half, knew how to read the game after the break. Once he saw that his men did not lower their arms, he ordered a change in pressure and wear: there was no need to attack, just to guarantee control of the ball and make changes to refresh the starting players thinking about Sunday , the day on which the Red will face one team hurt What was perhaps not expected is that Balde, Morata, Carlos Soler, Nico Williams and Koke were as much or more eager to vindicate themselves than those who have left the headlines.
It was not a day for large doses of euphoria in Madrid. Seven goals was more than enough reason for the crowd to leave happy, but without getting carried away. The beers, for Sunday. That day is a public holiday, the opponent will have a much bigger poster and the scoreboard will be used to know whether or not Spain can compete to win the World Cup again.