24 teams have already played their first group match for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with only teams from Group G and H yet to open their World Cup campaign at the moment. While many thought England was the biggest winner so far after the Three Lions thrashed Iran 6-2 in Group B at Khalifa International Stadium, their European peer, Spain had a different idea to steal the headlines of the football world. The young and rejuvenated La Furia Roja, led by Luis Enrique, stomped over the 49th-ranked Costa Rica with a resounding 7-0 victory.
2012 FIFA World Cup champion Spain and Costa Rica, alongside four-time winner Germany and World No. 24 Japan belong to the Group of Death (Group E) in this edition as at least three teams are capable of making it into the next round. The other Group E fixture saw Germany suffer a great upset by their weaker opponent on paper despite taking a first-half lead against the Japanese.
Gavi the Youngest Player to Represent Spain in a Major Tournament
During the clash between Spain and Costa Rica, Barcelona’s prodigy and the reigning Golden Boy winner, Gavi, became the youngest player (18 years and 110 days) to ever represent La Furia Roja in a major tournament (FIFA World Cup or UEFA European Championship). Besides, in the 75th minute of the game when Spain was 4-0 up against Costa Rica, Gavi converted a gorgeous volley off the post after a floating pass from forward Alvaro Morata, marking him the third youngest player to score in the FIFA World Cup, after Brazil’s Pele (17 years and 249 days) and Mexico’s Manuel Rosas (18 years and 93 days).
Young Blood to Roar for La Furia Roja
Luis Enrique, the former Real Madrid and Barcelona player picked a relatively young Spain squad (4th youngest squad among 32 teams with an average age of 25.6 years old) to conquer the world and revive Spain’s glory days from 2008 to 2012, after several key members in the squad had already retired or are no longer in their prime. Nonetheless, La Furia Roja showed no fear in their World Cup opening game against Costa Rica, with six players on the scoresheet in the 7-0 thrashing.
Die Mannschaft Next
With Spain looking optimistic to finish Group E as the winner after its emphatic win and Germany dispirited after the Japan clash, the Luis Enrique-led La Furia Roja will be going to the next match against Die Mannschaft as the clear favourite. Unless Hansi Flick-led Germany finds a way to overcome its finishing issues at the front, it would be difficult for them to have an advantage over their Spanish opponent. The Spain-Germany match is arguably the most-anticipated match in the group stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
(Photo Credits: The Sun)