Spain ensured they were not the latest high-profile nation to fall victim to a World Cup upset by thrashing Costa Rica on Wednesday.
The earlier result in Group E saw Germany lose to Japan in one of the shocks of the tournament so far, but Luis Enrique’s men took total control of their first match from the off.
Spain came close to taking a fifth-minute lead when Pedri’s beautifully weighted ball over the top of the Costa Rica defence met Dani Olmo, whose cushioned strike went just wide.
Pedri again was the creator of Spain’s next chance moments later, this time teeing up makeshift striker Marco Asensio, but the Real Madrid forward was unable to direct his effort towards goal.
La Roja went ahead with just 11 minutes on the clock through Olmo, whose clever one-two with Gavi over the top of the defence worked a treat, and the RB Leipzig star brilliantly brought the ball back down past Francisco Calvo before dinking over a helpless Keylor Navas.
That advantage was doubled midway through the first half when Jordi Alba’s cutback was delicately swept home by Asensio, with former club-mate Navas only getting a glove on the shot.
Oscar Duarte conceded a penalty just before the half-hour mark when his legs got in a tangle with Alba’s, and Ferran Torres kept his nerve from the spot to add Spain’s third of the day.
Spain notched up their fourth a few minutes after the restart. Francisco Calvo and Bryan Oviedo both failed to deal with a Torres dribble deep into their own box, with the Barcelona winger pinching the ball back and slotting past Navas.
Gavi volleyed in the fifth with a quarter of an hour remaining, racing into the penalty area and striking with the outside of his boot to meet Alvaro Morata’s cross and become Spain’s youngest scorer in World Cup history.
Spain’s sixth goal came in the last minute of normal time. A low cross from Nico Williams was spilled by Navas, allowing Carlos Soler to smash in the rebound.
The final goal of the rout was finished by Morata in stoppage time as Costa Rica’s day of misery came to an end.
GK: Unai Simon – 6/10 – Had very, very little to do. Acted as another outfielder as Enrique insists.
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta – 6/10 – There were a few eyebrows raised when he was named in the starting XI. In hindsight, such a walkover was perfect for Azpilicueta to come in for the ill Dani Carvajal.
CB: Rodri – 6/10 – Enrique clearly doesn’t trust a lot of his centre-back options, starting a natural midfielder in defence.
CB: Aymeric Laporte – 6/10 – Had an early miscommunication with Busquets but was fine from there on in.
LB: Jordi Alba – 8/10 – Like Azpilicueta, there have been questions over Alba’s continued involvement with the Spain setup, but he rolled back the years with a classic lung-busting performance here.
DM: Sergio Busquets – 7/10 – Another of Enrique’s old guard who looked right at home in such game played at their own pace.
CM: Gavi – 10/10 – How about that for a major tournament debut? Gavi flittered between the lines and looked the spit of the legendary midfielders who preceded him.
CM: Pedri – 8/10 – Ditto. Spain’s future is in safe hands as long as the Barcelona duo remain fit.
RW: Ferran Torres – 8/10 – The quietest of Spain’s front three but still scored twice had joy running down both flanks.
CF: Marco Asensio – 8/10 – Whether running in behind or dropping deep, Asensio looked like a natural centre forward and gave Costa Rica’s defenders headaches throughout.
LW: Dani Olmo – 9/10 – Worked perfectly in tandem with his fellow attackers and supporting-cast midfielders.
SUB: Alvaro Morata (57′ for Torres) – 8/10
SUB: Carlos Soler (57′ for Pedri) – 7/10
SUB: Alejandro Balde (64′ for Alba) – 7/10
SUB: Koke (64′ for Busquets) – 6/10
SUB: Neco Williams (69′ for Asensio) – 7/10
Manager: Luis Enrique – 9/10 – The ideal start. Enrique’s selection decisions were vindicated and his players put in a top performance.
GK: Keylor Navas – 2/10 – Should have probably done better with Spain’s second goal. Helpless regardless.
RB: Carlos Martinez – 1/10 – Torn inside-out by Olmo before being hooked at half-time. A day to forget.
CB: Oscar Duarte – 1/10 – Got too tight to Alba when giving away the penalty.
CB: Francisco Calvo – 2/10 – Only marginally better than Duarte in that he did not give away a penalty.
LB: Bryan Oviedo – 2/10 – One of Costa Rica’s more experienced heads wasn’t much use at either end.
RM: Keysher Fuller – 1/10 – Naturally a right-back, Fuller did little to help Martinez in their battles with Olmo, Torres and Alba.
CM: Celso Borges – 3/10 – Did little to win the midfield battle, though that was understandable up against Gavi, Pedri and Busquets.
CM: Yeltsin Tejeda – 3/10 – Yeah, seriously, this was a battle they just were not going to win.
LM: Jewison Bennette – 4/10 – Looked lively on the break but had little support.
CF: Joel Campbell – 2/10 – Like Oviedo was unable to make his 2014 experience count.
CF: Anthony Contreras – 3/10 – Anonymous throughout.
SUB: Kendall Waston (46′ for Martinez) – 2/10
SUB: Alvaro Zamora (62′ for Contreras) – 2/10
SUB: Bryan Ruiz (62′ for Bennette) – 2/10
SUB: Brandon Aguilera (72′ for Borges) – N/A
SUB: Ronald Matarrita (82′ for Oviedo) – N/A
Manager: Luis Suarez – 3/10 – There’s not much he could have done about such an early collapse, but Costa Rica looked hopeless throughout.