08:30 PM IST: Welcome to the live blog of Spain vs Costa Rica, FIFA World Cup 2022, Group E match.
Spain will be bidding to get their World Cup campaign off to the best possible start when they take on Costa Rica in their Group E opener on Wednesday afternoon in FIFA World Cup 2022. The 2010 champions haven’t won a World Cup knockout match since the final in Johannesburg. However, Luis Enrique’s youth-infused setup comes into the contest buoyed by reaching the semi-finals of the European Championships and Nations League across the last 18 months.
Costa Rica finished in fourth place in their CONCACAF qualification campaign. They picked up a crucial victory against New Zealand to qualify for the World Cup. In 2022, Costa Rica has climbed 14 places in FIFA’s World rankings – more than any other nation at this year’s finals.
Spain Form (all competitions): D-W-W-L-W-W
Costa Rica (all competitions): W-W-W-D-L-W
Players to watch out
Pedri has emerged as a vital performer in midfield for Luis Enrique’s La Roja, Pedri is a unique talent who can play in the centre of midfield or as a wide playmaker. He has the ability to dribble past players easily without losing the ball easily and also often he gets into very good scoring positions.
He will be key for the Spanish midfield as alongside Gavi and Busquets can create a lot of problems for the opposition. His name in the starting eleven will be guaranteed, even though he is very young he is a very mature player and will be one of the players to look out for in this tournament.
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For a few people, it might be surprising to see the name of the 35-year-old goalkeeper here. However, because of the strong Spanish side, he will be crucial if Costa Rica wants to come on top. One of the most decorated goalkeepers in the history of the game without getting any recognition for it. His role in this match will surely decide the result of the match. Even though he is not getting proper game time in his club, Navas is still capable of amazing performances.
Costa Rica: 0
Spain predicted lineup (4-3-3):
Simon; Carvajal, Laporte, P Torres, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, Gavi; F Torres, Morata, Williams.
Costa Rica predicted lineup (4-3-3):
Navas; Martinez, Calvo, Duarte, Oviedo; Tejeda, Bennette, Torres; Borges, Contreras, Campbell.
Spain vs Costa Rica: Prediction
Spain has managed their transition admirably under Luis Enrique. They now find themselves blessed with a new generation of technically-gifted players. The European giants have named one of the youngest squads in the tournament. Enrique will want his starlets to prove their mettle this year. Costa Rica have held their fair share of big names at bay in the past, but has a mountain to climb in this group. It may be a slog – and they will have to be wary of Costa Rica’s speed in transition – but Spain should kick off their campaign with a victory.
Prediction: Spain 2- 0 Costa Rica