Spain vs Costa Rica
Al Thumama Stadium plays host to Spain’s first-ever competitive showdown against Costa Rica, which will kick things off in an exciting 2022 World Cup Group E.
Spain’s road to redemption for a disappointing last-16 exit in Russia four years ago started at Euro 2020 last summer as they reached the competition’s semi-finals. Yet the nation’s ambitions are lofty following a memorable triumph in 2010 as manager Luis Enrique aims to build on his team’s triumphant 2022/23 UEFA Nations League group-stage campaign at the expense of Portugal and Switzerland. Spain’s 12th consecutive appearance at the World Cup finals accounts for the fourth-best record in the tournament’s history, underpinning their high aspirations in Qatar. On top of that, ‘La FuriaRoja‘ have finished top of their respective World Cup group four times in five tournaments in the 21st century! Scoring against Costa Rica would see the Spaniards reach a flattering milestone as it would be their 100th goal at the World Cup finals.
On the other hand, Costa Rica did exceptionally well in the CONCACAF qualifying group, finishing fourth, albeit level on points with the third-placed United States to reach the inter-confederation playoffs. A 1-0 win over New Zealand in the showpiece event has fired ‘Los Ticos’ into their third successive World Cup finals for the first time in the country’s history. But since defying the odds to top their 2014 World Cup group ahead of England, Italy, and Uruguay, Luis Fernando Suarez’s men have gone winless in six straight games at the tournament (D4, L2). A lack of firepower in the front third has seen Costa Rica draw a blank four times across those six matches, highlighting their attack as the team’s weakest link.