Despite the accusation that it was only Costa Rica, Spain could not have started off their World Cup campaign in better fashion. Manager Luis Enrique commented that Spain have ‘a habit of staring tournaments badly, but we have broken that run’. It was an emphatic kicking of the habit.
If Spain looked impressive on the pitch, the numbers behind it were almost as impressive. La Roja were 100% accurate with their shots on target, scoring all seven of them. At the other end, Unai Simon did not have to face a single shot. Both that and the xG conceded of 0.0 are firsts in the tournament so far.
While possession figures vary, Sport had it at 75%, others at 82%, all of them were a testament to the dominance of La Roja, who looked in cruise control for much of the game. A tournament record of 574 passes were played in the first half, which grew to 1,061 in the second. 1,003 of those were successful, giving Spain a remarkable 94.5% accuracy for the whole team.
All of that is without mentioning the fact it was Spain’s biggest World Cup victory ever. Many felt that Gavi was the best of the lot and he picked up the man of the match award, capping his performance with a delicious volley. He also put up some impressive statistics of his own.
It might only be one game, it might be the weakest opposition they will face at the tournament, but Spain came as close to perfection as they could reasonably be expected to. Luis Enrique warned that the praise would weaken them ahead of their clash with Germany on Sunday, but for once, it must have been nice to hear the press unanimous in singing his praises.