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Spain's Gavi becomes youngest World Cup goalscorer since Pele

Spain 7 Costa Rica 0

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Spain's Gavi celebrates scoring their fifth goal with Alejandro Balde in the World Cup Group E win over Costa Rica at Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar

Spain's Gavi celebrates scoring their fifth goal with Alejandro Balde in the World Cup Group E win over Costa Rica at Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar

Spain's Gavi celebrates scoring their fifth goal with Alejandro Balde in the World Cup Group E win over Costa Rica at Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar

Spain midfielder Gavi's goal in his team's 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica on Wednesday made him the youngest World Cup scorer since Brazil great Pele in 1958.

Pele was 17 in Sweden when he led Brazil to their first World Cup title, scoring six goals.

Gavi, 18, also secured the game's MVP award after becoming the youngest Spaniard to score at a World Cup, breaking the record of Cesc Fabregas who was 19 when he netted against Ukraine in the 2006 tournament.

"I'm happy for the accomplishments but what I really care is that we won and played a great game, let's move forward," Gavi told a news conference.

"Of course, it's an honour to be second in this list and it's something that makes me really happy."

Gavi scored Spain's fifth goal in the 74th minute with a sumptuous volley in off the post after a floating cross from Alvaro Morata.

Ferran Torres bagged a brace and strikes from four other players took Spain past the 100-goal mark in soccer's showpiece tournament.

Barcelona's Gavi became the youngest player to represent Spain in November, 2021, two months after his 17th birthday. A few months later, he became the youngest Spanish player to score a goal for his country.

Spain coach Luis Enrique heaped praise on his players and said they will approach the game against Germany with the same level of ambition.

"When things go like this, football becomes a wonderful sport," Luis Enrique told a news conference.

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Spain's Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring their seventh goal with teammates in the World Cup Group E win over Costa Rica at Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar

Spain's Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring their seventh goal with teammates in the World Cup Group E win over Costa Rica at Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar

Spain's Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring their seventh goal with teammates in the World Cup Group E win over Costa Rica at Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar

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"We were exceptional in our ball handling and finishing, with the same philosophy that the national team has had for years. We were exceptional in pressing and the 17 players who took part were very good.

"It is the national team that scores the most goals in all the championships we have been in. We may not have a benchmark player who scores 30 goals but we have Ferran, Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, Gavi... I've never been worried about finding goals."

The Spain coach stressed the importance of the psychological aspect of the game.

"Of course, you have to work on your head. It has been vital for me to work with the players so that they don't go out on the pitch too excited," Luis Enrique said.

"Now we have to work on something else, but I can tell you that this team is not going to relax. Germany can beat us because they're a power, but we're going to go out and play the same way."

He also anticipated there would be changes.

"I don't know who will play, but I will probably not repeat the lineup. We won't play seven games with (the same) 11 players. I'm sure I'm going to change."

Spain face Germany in Group E on Sunday as the Germans look to put their surprise 2-1 loss to Japan behind them.

Meanwhile, Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suarez said he would try to rally his shattered team after their thrashing.

"We couldn't get the ball and there was nothing in attack from us," Suarez told reporters. "I have to admit that we were bad and we all have to take account of what happened."

Costa Rica, who reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2014, failed to record a single shot on goal against Spain and now face Japan and Germany in their remaining Group E games.

"We are worried that the group won't get out this hole that we are in," Suarez, who is Colombian, said. "I hope that we can short things out and start working from tomorrow before Japan."

Suarez was appointed to coach the national side in 2021 having previously led Ecuador and Honduras. He included several veterans of past Costa Rica campaigns in his squad for Qatar.


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