HomeUKSpain v Costa Rica: World Cup 2022 – live

Spain v Costa Rica: World Cup 2022 – live

Key events

68 min Calvo lunges wearily at Soler and is booked.

68 min Completed passes: Spain 733-98 Costa Rica. This really is one helluva doing.

67 min In theory Japan’s defeat has blown the group wide open,” says Kári Tulinius, “but going by today’s performances, Japan and Spain should comfortably beat Costa Rica and Germany respectively, leaving a pair of dead rubbers for the third round.”

The Group of Death: Redefined.

66 min Thanks for all your ITV Player suggestions, which I’ve forwarded on to Ben.

Meanwhile, Spain are still pushing for more goals, and rightly so – it’s not beyond the realms that they, Japan and Germany could all end up on six points in this group.

64 min: Spain substitution Barcelona’s teenage left-back Alejandro Balde comes on for his debut in place of Jordi Alba. Koke replaces Sergio Busquets.

63 min Morata misses a half chance, shooting well wide of the near post from a tight angle. He made an excellent run onto Azpilicueta’s pass but then lost his bearings a touch.

63 min “Try a different browser for ITV Hub,” says Zachary Scahill. “Chrome works for me etc.”

62 min: Costa Rica substitution Bryan Ruiz, 37, and Alvaro Zamora replace Anthony Contreras and Jewison Bennette.

61 min How good are Spain? For now the question is interrogative rather than rhetorical, though that will change if they submit Germany to death by silk on Sunday.

60 min Here’s Spain’s fourth goal, the defending for which left plenty to be desired.

59 min “I’ve been literally unable to get the ITV Player to work in my browser,” says Ben Lake. “I click on their World Cup coverage and I just get the screen the stream is supposed to play onto but no actual video. I’ve found nothing through googling but I remember another MBM included some gnashing of teeth about the ITV’s player. Maybe someone has some idea how to fix this?”


57 min: Spain substitution No hat-trick for Ferran Torres; he’s replaced by Alvaro Morata. And Carlos Soler is on for the brilliant Pedri.

Gavi’s sharp cutback found Torres on the edge of the area. He ran into traffic and lost the ball, but two Costa Rica defenders dithered and Torres was able to steal it back before shooting past Navas on the turn. That was far too easy.

GOAL! Spain 4-0 Costa Rica (Torres 54)

Ferran Torres helps himself to seconds at the Costa Rica buffet.

Ferran Torres makes it four. Photograph: Abir Sultan/EPA

53 min Asensio plays in the underlapping Dani Olmo, who hammers a low cross that is well cleared by one of the 47 Costa Rica defenders in the six-yard box.

51 min At the worst of times, Spain still make the ball do the work. In this situation, 3-0 up against a team whose spirit they have broken, they can conserve even more energy throughout the second half.

49 min Oviedo’s sharp cutback finds Bennette on the edge of the area. He tries to wriggled past Pedri and is serenely dispossessed.

Pedri is a farce of a 19-year-old.

48 min Azpilicueta charges 40 yards and plays a good square pass to Asensio on the edge of the D. He takes a touch and pings a rising drive over the bar.

48 min “Barca’s geriatrics deserve much more credit,” says Jazi Zilbert. “Busi & Alba, Rob!”

Fair point, especially Alba. But surely it’s geriatricos? Or is that just Real Madrid players?

46 min Costa Rica begin the second half, having made a half-time substitution: Kendall Waston replaces Carlos Martinez, which means a switch from 4-4-2 to 5-4-1. What we have, we hold.

“Joel Campbell needs to get off that pitch now,” says Alexandra Fullerton. “No movement, nothing. So disappointing. Ahhh, dreams of 2014…”

Thing is, even if they lose 47-0 today, they are far from out of it. Japan’s win over Germany has blown the (rest of the) group wide open.

“Outside of the key reason being that the underdog teams are just better (coached, prepared, etc.) these days, I’m tempted to believe that location is a contributing factor to the strong performances by some of those nations so far,” says Dunstan Kesseler. “Those who’ve won or drawn so far against a recognised ‘bigger’ opponent are either from Asia or Northern Africa. All have got significant experience of playing in the Gulf states and their experience of the football and social environment out there might well mean that they have been capable of hitting the ground running in this uncanny valley of a World Cup…”

That’s an excellent point, and another parallel (sort of) with 2002.

Half-time reading

Half time: Spain 3-0 Costa Rica

The end of a first half that was a delight for both the connoisseur and the statto. Spain took the ball and passed the ball as only they can, with Pedri and Gavi (combined age 37) especially charming.

Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio and Ferran Torres got the goals, but all 10 outfield players helped put Costa Rica to sleep. It was death by silk. Spain completed 548 passes; Costa Rica managed 73.

45+5 min That could have been four. Busquets’ backheel found Pedri, who waited for the right moment to angle a through pass to Asensio in the area. He took the shot on the turn but splashed it wide of the near post.

45 min There will be five minutes of additional Costa Rican pain.

43 min “Greetings from the Eastern Time Zone (i.e. one hour ahead of Chicago), Rob!” says Joe Pearson. “I would have thought of you as the cranky Beatle, John Lennon, funny and cranky at the same time. But ‘soft’ penalty? He fouled him twice!”

Well, there is that. I suppose I meant the contact itself. For example, in the below clip there is only one foul, but I doubt even Kimbo Slice would have described it as soft.

40 min The extent of Spain’s dominance is shown not only by the possession stats (86 per cent!) but that, for the first time since Opta records began, Cesar Azpilicueta hasn’t given the referee, or anyone on the opposing team, a mouthful.

38 min Campbell’s long, driven pass finds Oviedo on the left side of the area. His lobbed cross is headed away by Rodri, and then Spain play their way out of trouble in style. Life’s just one big long rondo to this lot.

36 min As with England v Iran, it’s hard to know how much of this is attibutable to Spain’s excellent and Costa Rica’s <Roy Keane> shockingness </Roy Keane>.

Sunday night, a mouthwatering, thighrubbing fixture called Spain v Germany, will tell us more.

35 min Martinez makes an important tackle on Olmo near the byline, though the flag went up subsequently.

33 min “With a lot of teams having a ‘mid block’, they only engage in a press in certain areas of the pitch. Defenders can have the ball to a certain point before they feel pressure.

“Spain’s triggers and movement to create is some of the best we have seen so far. One drops, one goes in behind or ahead of the ball. It’s so impressive.”

One of the downsides – some would say it’s an upside – of doing MBMs is that you spend half the time looking at a computer screen, so you never really got to appreciate stuff like this.

32 min Since you asked, Spain’s biggest victory at a World Cup is the futile 6-1 win over Bulgaria in 1998.

GOAL! Spain 3-0 Costa Rica (Torres 31 pen)

Ferran Torres sits Navas down and eases a cocky, Jorginho-style penalty into the net. Spain have been pretty wonderful so far.

Torres fools Navas.
Torres fools Navas. Photograph: Raúl Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images
3-0. Photograph: Jose Breton/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock


29 min The off balance Duarte kicks desperately through Alba’s heel in an attempt to get the ball. A soft penalty, but a penalty nonetheless.

Costa Rica's Oscar Duarte concedes a penalty by fouling Spain's Jordi Alba.
Costa Rica’s Oscar Duarte concedes a penalty by fouling Spain’s Jordi Alba. Photograph: Marko Đurica/Reuters

26 min Or maybe not: apparently they completed over 1,100 against Russia (including extra-time) in 2018.

25 min Spain are playing beautifully, and have already completed over 250 passes. With all the injury time, they could well set a new World Cup record for completed passes.

Marco Asensio, Spain’s false nine, has doubled their lead. Jordi Alba’s precise cross found him 12 yards out, and he watched the bounce carefully to drive a first-time shot through the diving Navas. Asensio controlled the shot well but Navas probably should have done better; he got a fair piece of it but only could it push it into the corner.

GOAL! Spain 2-0 Costa Rica (Asensio 21)

And that’s two.

Asensio beats Navas.
Asensio beats Navas. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images
Asensio celebrates scoring their second goal.
Asensio celebrates scoring their second goal. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

20 min Costa Rica are having a bit more of the ball now, although they haven’t threatened to increase Unai Simon’s heart rate.

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