Spain will look to forget its 2014 and 2018 World Cup campaigns when it turns over a new leaf in the 2022 edition against Costa Rica in its opening fixture on Wednesday, in Qatar.
Luis Enrique has to go with a younger side, choosing to fly to Qatar without veterans like Sergio Ramos and Thiago Alcantara.
Instead, he will expect the brigade of Pedri, Gavi Paez and Ansu Fati will lead the country’s quest for a second World Cup.
La Furia Roja comes into the World Cup after a 3-1 win over Jordan in its final warm-up match, one that saw Fati and Gavi find their names on the scoresheet.
On the other hand, Costa Rica comes into the tournament with the reputation of a surprise giant killer.
In the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Costa Rica stunned Italy – a four-time World Cup winner – and Uruguay – a two-time World Cup winner – to finish as quarterfinalists.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 has already seen a massive upset with Argentina losing to Saudi Arabia in its opening fixture.
With Spain coming into the match as the stronger side on paper, it will need to be cautious not to be complacent on a stage that is always subject to surprises.
Spain comes into the match with four wins and a loss in its last five matches, which came against Switzerland. Costa Rica, on the other hand, has three wins in its last five mixtures and comes into the match after a 2-0 win over Nigeria.
Its latest clash against Iraq was cancelled due to passport issues.
Since 2010, Spain and Costa Rica have met three times and not once has the 2010 World Champion lost the clash, winning two and drawing one.
- Spain: Simon – Carvajal, Torres, Laporte, Alba – Pedri, Busquets, Gavi – Sarabia, Morata, Torres
- Costa Rica: Navas – Oviedo, Calvo, Watson, Duarte, Fuller – Bennette, Tejeda, Borges, Contreras, Campbell
Spain vs Costa Rica: Kick-off, telecast and live streaming details
When does the Spain vs Costa Rica match kick-off?
Where does the Spain vs Costa Rica match kick-off?
Where can you watch the World Cup in India?
- Check out Sportstar’s coverage of World Cup in Qatar
- Scan the World Cup in pictures
- Football fans, put your skills to the test with FIFA World Cup Quiz
- Soak in the rich history of the football World Cup
- WATCH: What’s happening in Qatar and who is saying what
- Here are some of the most frequently asked questions
FIFA World Cup latest talking points:
Saudi Arabia shocks Argentina
It looked like Lionel Messi took 10 minutes and a penalty (that silenced a raucous Saudi crowd behind the team dugouts at the Lusail Stadium) to set sails for yet another World Cup adventure – his last – to exorcise the ghosts of disappointments past.
But his sails lost their wind in five terrifying second-half minutes, handing Argentina a 2-1 opening-game ambush by Saudi Arabia to give him and his mates a new nightmare.
Full story here: Saudi Arabia stuns Argentina to dent Messi’s World Cup ambitions
Can Argentina can qualify for knockouts after the shock loss?
Argentina, considered by many to be among the FIFA World Cup title favourites, began its Qatar 2022 campaign with a shock 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
This loss makes the Lionel Messi-led side’s chances of qualifying from Group C to the round of 16 more difficult.
How Argentina can ensure qualification for the knockout stage of the World Cup
The South American side next faces Mexico on November 27 and then takes on Poland on December 1.
Argentina needs to win both these games to give itself the best chance for qualification. Two wins would put it at six points, which could ensure a top spot depending on other results.
Full scenarios here: How Argentina can qualify for knockouts after shock loss to Saudi Arabia
Why was Ecuador goal ruled offside by VAR?
The first goal by Ecuador in the opening game of the FIFA World Cup against Qatar in the third minute was ruled out after a VAR check, leaving Ecuador fans bamboozled by the decision.
Enner Valencia, receiving the ball off a kick by Felix Torres, headed it into the net to the jubilation of thousands of Ecuadorian fans at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar.
But after consulting the video assistant referees, the goal was ruled out as off-side.
Why so much injury time is added in Qatar WC?
One noticeable change in the ongoing Qatar World Cup has been the increase in stoppage time added in each half.
In the five matches played so far, there have been a combined total of 90 minutes played -- which is a duration of a football match.
The Netherlands‘ Davy Klaassen scored in the ninth minute of added time, despite the officials adding eight minutes of injury time. It’s not so common to see the amount of added time in World Cup matches as seen in this edition.
Why is it so? Read here: FIFA World Cup 2022: Why is so much injury time added in Qatar WC?
- PKL 10 Semifinal 2, Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Haryana Steelers: Road to semifinal, head-to-head, all you need to know
- PKL 10 Semifinal 1, Puneri Paltan vs Patna Pirates: Road to semifinal, head-to-head, all you need to know
- Shreyas Iyer included in Mumbai squad for Ranji Trophy semifinals
- WPL 2024: Star-studded opening ceremony kick starts second season in Bengaluru
- R. Ashwin: The formidable match-winner enters the 500-wickets club