A dominant Spanish side comfortably beat Costa Rica 3-0 in an excellent manner to ease themselves into the competition. With exciting attacking football leading to an opening own goal, followed by strikes from Bonmati and Gonzalez, Jorge Vilda’s side demonstrated why they are one of the tournaments favourites.
Spain began the game quickly, holding much of the possession and looking to go forward immediately. Overloading on the right, several dangerous balls made their way into the box however the side were unable to capitalise and take an early lead.
Aitana Bonmati fired Spain’s first attempt on goal, however found her attempt just inches wide, with Esther Gonzalez hitting a similar attempt moments later.
Costa Rica made their first emergence into the attacking third, with a ball threaded through the Spanish defence to play Herrera through on goal. A poor attempt from the Costa Rican forward saw the ball gently go wide, as her shot lacked power and precision.
Solera was forced to make an important block to deny Spain an early lead, as she tipped the ball over the top of the goal. Costa Rica were able to uphold the threat of Spain’s menacing attack for the opening 20 minutes of the game, withstanding the high-pressure of a congested defensive third.
The opening goal followed shortly, unfortunate from a Costa Rican perspective. Bonmati with a clever flick through Costa Rica’s backline reached Gonzales, who fired a cross across the face of the goal. A mishit clearance by Del Campo saw the ball in the back of the net, the own goal giving Spain the lead.
Just 2 minutes after the initial opening Spain doubled their lead. Bonmati picked the ball in the middle of the box, shifted it onto her left foot and fired an impressive strike into the bottom left corner.
An instant overload on the Costa Rican defence meant no slowing down from Spain. Solera making more important blocks to delay Spain from getting a third.
However, the third shortly followed. 26 minutes in Abelleria delivered from out wide, reaching the head of Hermoso who hit the woodwork with her attempt. Gonzales, with quick reactions, picked out the rebound in front of goal and fired the reds 3-0 ahead.
A foul inside of the box meant that Spain were awarded a penalty, as Villalobos came sliding across Carmona in an attempt to make an interception. An appreciable save from Solera denied Jenni Hermoso a goal to make it 4.
Just before half-time Costa Rica looked more positive and intently moved forward into the attacking half. Herrera put pressure onto the relaxed Spanish defence and was able to challenge goalkeeper Rodriguez and put her under pressure. A scare for Spain.
A ball picked up from deep midfield was played down the right to reach Herrera, who was able to play a threatening ball into the box. Spain were able to clear their lines, however a slice of encouragement for the Costa Rican side going into half time, following Spain’s dominance.
The second half consisted of much of the same from the Spanish side; a high-pressing, energetic, dominant performance, which challenged the Costa Rican defence with several attempts on target. Solera, the Costa Rican goalkeeper, was vitally important for her side; making several excellent saves to prevent Spain from extending their lead.
Defensively, Costa Rica were more organised in the second half, with Spain failing to add to their goal tally. The side also were able to advance further up the pitch, as opposed to how they sat deep in the first half. The higher press gave additional chances upfront, however ultimately they couldn’t make the most of the opportunities.
The win sees Spain eased in to the tournament comfortably, in preparation for their next game against Zambia, on July 26th 8:30am BST. Costa Rica will take the positives from the second half into their next game against Japan, on July 26th 6:00 am BST.