It may still be fresh in the minds of older football fans, but Spain’s 7-0 destruction of Costa Rica highlighted how long ago their only World Cup victory was. for a long time.
The European heavyweights claimed the honors in 2010 in South Africa amid unprecedented dominance in international football.
Between back-to-back European Championship wins, it was Spain’s greatest achievement, and first under Vicente del Bosque, but it was far from vintage.
Euro 2008 was all about ‘El Niño’ Fernando Torres and Euro 2012 was Barcelona, but the one in between was a bit of a pain.
Highlighted by Andreas Iniesta’s emotional winner against the Netherlands and Nigel de Jong’s kung fu hit on Xabi Alonso, Spain did it the hard way.
A campaign that began with a 1-0 loss to Switzerland, Spain’s knockout run saw four 1-0 wins from four, meaning they finished the tournament with eight goals, the sixth most of the competition.
This year however, they are already down to seven after Luis Enrique roused the team with a brilliant brand of attacking football that completely overwhelmed a poor Costa Rica side.
Part of that was Barcelona’s Gavi, who scored the fifth and arguably the best goal in the hammering.
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The 2022 Kopa Trophy winner, who took the prize ahead of Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala, was just five years old when Spain won the tournament 12 years ago.
Luis Enrique trusted the young midfielder even before Barcelona did in October last year, and was rewarded again.
“Gavi is a unique player,” he said. “He’s 18 but he has the personality of an experienced player.
“He is a boy who sometimes needs a little calm. But we are happy to have him in the team and he is going to be one of the stars of world football.
Discussing his striker options, the former Barca manager continued: “We don’t have a single striker who scores a lot of goals, but we have a lot of players who score goals and I’ve never been worried. lack of goals.
“We are always the top scorers in competitions.
“It was a very special match for us and we wanted to start the competition in the best possible way. We are not starting well [in tournaments]. We almost never win the first game, but we managed to break that.
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