Graeme Souness blasts ‘passive’ and ‘woeful’ Costa Rica as Spain hit seven in World Cup opener


    GAVI of Spain celebrates his goal with Alejandro BALDE of Spain during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Group E match between Spain and Costa Rica on November 23, 2022 at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Baptiste Fernandez/Icon Sport via Getty Images)
    Gavi was Spain’s star man in their 7-0 win over Costa Rica (Icon Sport via Getty)

    Graeme Souness described Costa Rica as ‘passive’ and ‘woeful’ following their 7-0 defeat to Spain in their World Cup opener on Wednesday evening.

    Luis Enrique’s side got off to a flying start in Qatar as goals from Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio and Ferran Torres put Spain 3-0 ahead by half time.

    But La Roja did not ease off after the break as Torres netted his second of the game before Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata found the net.

    Costa Rica, meanwhile, have become the first team since 1990 to fail to register a shot on goal in a World Cup match.

    And Souness believes Spain would have endured a tougher opening game if they played a practice match amongst the squad.

    ‘There was no aggression in the defending, no aggression whatsoever, it was all too easy,’ Souness told ITV.

    ‘It was in the 96th minute when they put an aggressive challenge in, when I say aggressive I mean leaving a bit on a Spanish player.

    ‘I would describe it as a passive, woeful attempt to try to play football.

    Editorial Use Only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Zemanek/Shutterstock (13626470br) Keysher Fuller of Costa Rica shows a look of dejection during the game. Spain v Costa Rica, FIFA World Cup 2022, Group E, Football, Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar - 23 Nov 2022
    Costa Rica are the first team at a World Cup since 1990 to fail to get a shot on goal (Shutterstock)

    ‘For Spain it was an absolute doddle, the perfect game. If they had a match amongst the squad, a practice match, it would’ve been more competitive than what we saw tonight from Costa Rica.

    ‘I could’ve played in the first half where Busquets played, there was no one near him, he was getting the ball and being allowed to turn, no one putting a challenge in. It was an easy night’s work for Spain.’

    Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville added: ‘I can’t measure Spain at all of that. I know they play Germany on Sunday so we’ll look forward to seeing them in that game.

    ‘Costa Rica, the first team for 32 years in a World Cup not to have a shot on goal, forget on target, not have a shot on goal all game, that can’t happen.

    ‘Those players have had multiple World Cups, they’ve had experiences, they knocked us [England] out of a group, five of those players, in 2014, they were fantastic, great energy, there was nothing out there today.

    ‘I’ve no idea what just happened. We know Spain keep the ball, they had the most possession at the last European Championship with 76%, we know they do that game in game out, but that’s as bad as it gets from Costa Rica, a team who have got a lot of quality and experience in the last eight to 10 years.’

    Former England Women’s striker Eni Aluko said: ‘We’ve seen some pretty poor performances, Iran, Qatar… Costa Rica I think that’s got to be the worst performance so far.

    ‘Spain are always going to have more possession, I think they do that against the best teams, so I’m not really surprised or overly impressed by that, but the goalscoring I think is important for Spain.’

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