“I am a leader” – Luis Enrique awaits his World Cup coaching debut
Spain are hoping to kick off a winning campaign at the 2022 World Cup when they face Costa Rica this afternoon in their first Group E match. Luis Enrique’s side have been drawn in a potentially tough group that also includes Germany and Japan, so three points from that meetings will reduce the pressure on the European team.
Since winning the 2010 World Cup, La Roja has been struggling on the biggest stage in football. They crashed in the group stage, defending their title in 2014, and lost to Russia in the last 16 on penalties four years ago. Enrique has assembled a squad of young attacking talents who will undoubtedly believe they can restore Spain to its former glory.
This new generation of Spanish players narrowly missed out on a place in the Euro 2020 final last summer after losing to Italy in the semi-finals (after another penalty shoot-out), but Barcelona’s Pedri (19) and Gavi (18) will start. the La Roja midfielder is well poised to shine in Qatar.
Their opponents today are the World Cup black horses Costa Rica. In 2014, they shocked England and Italy by being knocked out of the group along with Uruguay before losing on penalties to the Netherlands for a place in the semi-finals. Keylor Navas and Joel Campbell played in this tournament and remain a key part of the team this time around.
Follow all the action from Qatar on our live blog below:
Spain vs. Costa Rica
This is the first meeting between Spain and Costa Rica at the World Cup. In their three previous meetings – all friendlies – Spain are undefeated against the Central American side with two wins and one draw.
Michael JonesNovember 23, 2022 14:24
Where to watch Spain vs Costa Rica?
The match will kick off at 16:00 GMT on Wednesday 23 November at Al Thumama Stadium. It will be shown on ITV 1, with coverage from 15:10.
Michael JonesNovember 23, 2022 14:20
Germany says FIFA ‘refused us to speak’ after covering mouth in World Cup statement
Germany says FIFA has “refused us to speak” after their players covered their mouths in a statement at the World Cup ahead of their Group E match against Japan.
This is the latest change in a row with the world’s governing body on the “One Love” initiative as FIFA censor Germany and other teams in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
The four-time World Cup winners lined up to have their photo taken on the pitch ahead of the Group E match at the Khalifa International Stadium, covering their mouths together.
Michael JonesNovember 23, 2022 14:15
Spain vs Costa Rica early team news and predicted lineups
Spain reported no injuries following Jose Gaya’s withdrawal. The defense looks solid, with Dani Carvajal, Aymeric Laporte, Pau Torres and Jordi Alba at the back while Sergio Busquets, Gavi and Pedri should start in midfield.
Alvaro Morata will continue to be Spain’s number nine with Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati vying to start alongside him in attack. Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo and Nico Williams are contenders for the place though.
Spain: Simon; Carvajal, Laporte, P. Torres, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, Gavi; F Torres, Morata, Fati
Costa Rica: Navas; C Martinez, Calvo, Duarte, Oviedo; Tejeda, Bennette, G. Torres; Borges, Contreras, Campbell
Jack RathbornNovember 23, 2022 14:07
Spain vs. Costa Rica
There will be two FIFA World Cup matches this afternoon/early evening. Spain and Costa Rica will face off in Group E before Belgium kick off their Group F campaign against Canada in a late match.
Luis Enrique’s Spain is having a difficult time in a group that also includes Germany and Japan, but if they beat Costa Rica this afternoon they will be very close to reaching the knockout stage.
The Spaniards have a nice mix of youth and experience to draw on, which should put them in a good position ahead of the tournament. Meanwhile, Costa Rica are hoping to repeat their performance from the 2014 World Cup where they reached the quarter-finals where they lost to the Netherlands on penalties.
Qatar 2022 has already produced surprising results – Saudi Arabia still celebrates victory over Argentina – and Costa Rica has a chance to create another turmoil. So will Canada, who will face Belgium in tonight’s final match.
They qualified to the top of the Concacaf table ahead of Mexico and the United States, but are up against world No. 1. 2 who hope to improve on their third-place finish in Russia four years ago.
Michael JonesNovember 23, 2022 13:58