Spain vs Costa Rica: Luis Enrique’s Spain begin their World Cup 2022 journey with their opening group stage game against Costa Rica in Group E, with the Spaniards hoping to take away all 3 points in this fixture come the end of the 90 minutes.
Spain vs Costa Rica: Match Details
Date: Wednesday, 23rd November 2022
Competition: FIFA World Cup 2022
Time: 05:00 pm Central European Time (CET)
Venue: Al Thumama Stadium
Spain vs Costa Rica: Match Overview
As the Qatari sun hovers above the desert, the World Cup 2022 finds its footing beneath it. Following the handful of opening fixtures that have already taken place, it is now time for the Spaniards to take the field themselves.
Up against Costa Rica in their first group stage game of the tournament, Spain will be aiming to kick off their campaign with the best possible start by taking all 3 points.
In terms of their form, Spain have managed to win 4 out of their last 5 international games, with their most recent win being a friendly against Jordan that they played as a sort of warm-up game before the World Cup commenced.
Under Luis Enrique’s tutelage, this rather young Spanish side is composed of an abundance of Barcelona players as well. The most recent call-up to the team was that of young left-back Alejandro Balde, who has been included to replace the injured Jose Gaya.
Given the hopes that rest on this Spanish squad to perform better as compared to the performances in the previous two editions of the World Cup means that Luis Enrique’s side would be keen on making a strong initial impression against Costa Rica.
Spain got eliminated in the group stage of the 2014 edition of the World Cup and got knocked out by Russia on penalties in the round of 16 of the 2018 edition. Since the appointment of Luis Enrique, the team has improved significantly.
Their opponents from the Central American region possess a relatively similar record in their past 5 games, having won 3, drawn 1, and lost 1 as well. Another interesting fact is that Costa Rica have lost both of their last 2 encounters against La Roja, providing Spain with another positive to focus on when preparing for their opening game.
Spain vs Costa Rica: Potential Lineup
Goalkeeper: Unai Simon
A trusted sentinel for the manager, Unai Simon is now an experienced guard between the sticks for the Spanish national team.
Left-back: Jordi Alba
A veteran for both club and country, this may very well be Jordi Alba’s final outing at the World Cup stage and he would surely be looking to make an impact on his last dance.
Center-back: Pau Torres
The Villarreal center-back acts as the perfect archetype of a player that could succeed in this Spanish setup with his ball-playing abilities, technical level, and awareness.
Center-back: Aymeric Laporte
Similar to the Euros, Laporte may very well be tasked with leading the backline for the Spanish defense, with his ample experience with Manchester City making him more than capable of doing so and providing solid defensive cover as well as valuable ball distribution when needed.
One of only two Real Madrid players to make the National team, Carvajal is currently the most dependable option available as a right-back to Luis Enrique, and the fullback’s experience could come in very handy at a national stage such as this.
CDM: Sergio Busquets
Heavily praised by Enrique despite his rather inconsistent performances at the club level, Busquets may just have his last chance to cement his legacy even further during this tournament.
The crown jewel for Spain and Luis Enrique at the moment, ensuring that Pedri is able to play at his best will be vital for La Roja to come away with the victory in the end.
Alongside his other two potential midfield partners, this Barcelona-based trio could find Gavi’s dynamism a key element to unlocking the explosive side of this usually composed Spanish outfit.
Left-winger: Ansu Fati
Scored against Jordan in Spain’s previous game, his call-up to the national team should have instilled the young Spaniard with some huge confidence, here’s to hoping he carries it into this game.
Centre-Forward: Alvaro Morata
The most commonly deployed central forward under Enrique, Morata offers both experience and a more or less reliable outlet as a striker.
Right-winger: Ferran Torres
Highly appreciated for both club and country when it comes to his off-the-ball involvement, he could be a key player for Luis Enrique throughout this tournament.
Spain vs Costa Rica: Expected Line-up
Goalkeeper: Unai Simon
Defenders: Alba, Laporte, Torres, Carvajal
Midfielders: Pedri, Busquets, Gavi
Forwards: Fati, Morata, Torres