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Spain Women vs Costa Rica Women. Women's World Cup Group C.

Sky StadiumAttendance22,966.

Spain Women 3

  • V del Campo (21st minute own goal)
  • A Bonmati (23rd minute)
  • E Gonzalez Rodriguez (27th minute)

Costa Rica Women 0

    Spain 3-0 Costa Rica: Aitana Bonmati impresses as Spaniards take early control of Group C at Women's World Cup

    Report as Spain comfortably beat Costa Rica to dispel any suggestion pre-tournament rifts with federation might negatively impact World Cup chances; Jorge Vilda's side are competing without key players due to ongoing dispute; all three goals were scored during an impressive first half

    Spain celebrate their first goal during the Women's World Cup Group C soccer match between Spain and Costa Rica in Wellington, New Zealand, Friday, July 21, 2023. (AP Photo/John Cowpland )
    Image: Spain celebrate taking the lead against Costa Rica in Group C

    Spain shrugged off any suggestion of discontent or disharmony within camp by dispatching Costa Rica 3-0 in their opening World Cup Group C game.

    They entered the tournament under somewhat of a cloud after disagreements with their federation meant many key players ruled themselves out of contention this summer, including influential Barcelona midfielder Patri Guijarro.

    The players who were on show, however, delivered a masterclass in possessional play and fluidity - epitomised by the genius of Aitana Bonmati - albeit without the precision finishing that might have rendered the scoreline more favourable.

    Spain celebrates their first goal during the Women's World Cup Group C soccer match between Spain and Costa Rica in Wellington, New Zealand, Friday, July 21, 2023. (AP Photo/John Cowpland )
    Image: Spain were decisive in their World Cup opener despite ongoing disputes with their federation and key players missing

    Spain's relentless pressure forced the opener as Valeria del Campo turned Esther Gonzalez's cross into her own net in the 21st minute, compounding a devastating six-minute period which handed full control to the European side.

    Bonmati sidestepped advances before curling a delicious 23rd-minute strike into the far corner, while four minutes later Gonzalez hooked an effort over helpless goalkeeper Daniela Solera, who was at least able to find some brief solace when rebuffing Jennifer Hermoso's tame spot-kick before half-time.

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    Goals dried up after the break, with Solera instrumental in keeping the scoreline respectable for the relatively inexperienced Costa Ricans, but any implication Spain might be plagued by pre-tournament discord has been swiftly dispelled.

    How Spain's six-minute raid secured win

    Spain's Aitana Bonmati, left, and Costa Rica's Priscilla Chinchilla compete for the ball
    Image: Aitana Bonmati shone in central midfield, scoring one of Spain's three goals

    Costa Rica were perhaps the perfect opening opposition for Spain, whose pre-tournament build-up had been dominated by chatter of a feud between head coach Jorge Vilda and his talented playing squad.

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    As a result, several key players opted to make themselves unavailable for selection, although such is Spain's strength in depth, it was impossible to tell as they grasped early control of Group C ahead of Japan's game against Zambia on Saturday.

    The teams had played out a draw when they faced each other on their World Cup debuts in 2015 but Spain have since risen to sixth in FIFA's official rankings, and it showed as their technical dominance overawed Costa Rica.

    Spain's Alexia Putellas died her hair pink after winning the Champions League with her club Barcelona
    Image: Spain's Alexia Putellas died her hair pink after winning the Champions League with her club Barcelona

    Spain enjoyed 117 touches in Costa Rica's box, and 46 shots on goal, but it was a six-minute first-half blitz that earned a comfortable victory.

    The opener, gifted by some clumsy defending, went in off Del Campo's boot, but the following two were forged by the craft and creativity of Spain's particularly vibrant forward line.

    The first was initiated by the brilliance of Bonmati, as she danced around defenders before bending a sweet strike low into the left-hand corner, while some clever improvisation to lift the ball beyond Solera from Gonzalez delivered the killer blow.

    Dual Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas was only named among Spain's substitutes as she makes her way back to full fitness, but did make a 13-minute cameo late in the second half - sporting bright pink hair.

    What is the schedule?

    The group stage has begun and runs over a two-week period finishing on August 3. Group winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16, which takes place from August 5 to August 8.

    The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled for August 11 and 12.

    The first semi-final will then be played on August 15 in Auckland, with the other semi-final taking place on August 16 at the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final on August 20.

    A third-place play-off will be played the day before the final on August 19 in Brisbane.

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