Luis Enrique’s three doubts over the Spain starting XI for first World Cup match

Spain will go into their first World Cup match against Costa Rica next Wednesday at 17:00 CEST knowing that three points are essential in order to make a good start to a tricky group E.

While Germany are obviously the major rivals in terms of a big name, Japan will be no pushovers. Failure to win against Costa Rica would put Spain’s backs against the wall early on.

According to Marca, Luis enrique has already decided eight of his starting XI and has just three doubts with which to work; one in defence and two in attack.

Unai Simon will start in goal, with Jordi Alba, Dani Carvajal and Aymeric Laporte in defence ahead of him. All three are relatively certain of their places, but Luis Enrique will likely select one of Pau Torres or Eric Garcia alongside Laporte.

In midfield, it will be a Barcelona trio of Sergio Busquets, Pedri and Gavi. Ahead of them, Alvaro Morata is the number nine, provided he is fit – something Luis Enrique has made abundantly clear over his time in the job.

To flank him, Luis Enrique can choose from two of seven options. Despite the former’s good form, Nico Williams and Yeremy Pino will likely remain as impact substitutes. Marco Asensio has arrived to Qatar in good form, but so far has been used almost exclusively through the middle, where Morata will play.

Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo, Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres will fight out the other positions.

Luis Enrique has often shown a preference for Dani Olmo, who provides the ability to move into midfield and pass through the lines. Equally Ansu Fati is probably the option that provides the most goal-threat, something Spain struggle with.

Ferran Torres’ Spain form has never been in doubt in the same way it has in Barcelona, so perhaps he has the best chance of starting against Costa Rica. Knowing Luis Enrique, it will likely depend on which players he feels will best exploit Costa Rica’s deep block.

Tags 2022 World Cup Costa Rica Luis Enrique Spain La Roja
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