After shock defeats for Argentina and Germany already in the tournament, Costa Rica were the latest underdog to step up and try and continue that run, but the challenge put up was barely worthy a training session.
Dani Olmo and Marco Asensio got the party started for Spain, before Ferran Torres struck either side of half-time and Gavi added a wonderful fifth. Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata gave the scoreline some added gloss in the final moments, reflecting what was an utterly dominant display.
Attention now turns to this weekend’s clash against Germany, who know they need a result after their defeat to Japan.
With the likes of Rodri, Pedri, Gavi and Sergio Busquets in the side, possession was never likely to be an issue for Spain and so it proved, as they completed more passes in the opening 45 minutes than any side has ever managed in the first-half of a World Cup match.
They had three goals to go with it too, as Costa Rica were blown away in a remarkably one-sided encounter. Pedri, sensational throughout, was involved before Gavi scooped the ball through and it fell for Olmo, who lifted the ball over Keylor Navas.
That lead was doubled with barely 20 minutes on the clock, any hopes of another World Cup upset effectively over, when Jordi Alba whipped the cross in and Asensio was free in the box to sweep a first-time finish into the far corner.
Two became three on the half-hour mark, as Alba was brought down in the box. Torres was the man to step up, and a skip and a rolled penalty into the bottom corner later it was 3-0 to Spain.
Costa Rica brought on another centre-back at half-time but it did nothing to alter the pattern of play, and Spain extended their lead further. Torres bundled his way through in the area before swivelling and firing a low effort past Navas, though joy soon turned to disappointment as he looked over and saw his number was up, Alvaro Morata’s introduction denying his team-mate a hat-trick.
It took 67 minutes for a competitive edge to be injected into proceedings, and it came as Francisco Calvo flew into a poor challenge on the unfortunate Carlos Soler, earning himself the first yellow card of the match.
That was a one-off, and Spain added a fifth to further assert their dominance. A lovely run from Alejandro Balde opened things up, before Alvaro Morata clipped a cross to the edge of the box and Gavi ran onto it to score a delightful volley with the outside of his boot.
Soler made it sixth as Navas palmed out a low cross straight into his path, the PSG midfielder lifting the strike into the empty net, before Alvaro Morata combined with Olmo and finished at the near post in stoppage-time, as Spain scored seven in a World Cup match for the first time.