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Teresa, Olga and Athenea impress as Spain thrash Costa Rica

Teresa, Olga, Athenea, Ivana & Misa started while Oihane and Zornoza also debuted in the second half.

Spain v Costa Rica: Group C - FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Spain 3-0 Costa Rica

Spain began the path towards their dream. The national team thrashed Costa Rica 3-0 in the first match of the World Cup and although they could have scored many more goals; they were impressive and were far superior.

Spain: Misa; Ona (Oihane, 88’), Paredes, Ivana, Olga; Tere (Zornoza, 76’), Aitana, Jenni; Athenea (Mariona, 62’), Salma (Alexia, 76’) and Esther (Alba, 62’).

Costa Rica: Hearth; Villalobos, Benavides, Del Campo; Coto, Alvarado, Villalobos (Pinell, 73’), Elizondo (Granados, 58’); Monge, Salas (Scott, 73’), Chinchilla.

La Furia Roja was able to show what it already is - a world power and one of the contenders for the title of world champions. Spain jumped to the Regional Stadium in Wellington with panache and style. Neither the surprises of Athenea or Teresa starting nor the absence of Alexia Putellas on the pitch put La Roja's performance in doubt.

It was an impressive performance especially by Teresa Abelleira and Olga Carmona as Spain settled the tie by scoring three goals in six minutes, after 20 minutes of siege. The first was an own goal, then Aitana and Esther scored.

Salma and Olga from the first moment put the Costa Rican defense in ripples. They excelled in everything, and they monopolized and revolutionized play in the left wing, dominating that flank completely in the game. They were a few first minutes with a bit of danger from Costa Rica on the counter with Chinchilla with a half chance but her shot went wide.

The Ticas knew that their only option was to catch Spain on the counterattack, but it was Spain that had the first chance of the game with Aitana’s effort.

In the next minutes Esther had a good chance with a well taken shot. However, it was the Costa Rican Melissa Herrera who went closest after a defensive oversight from Ivana and Paredes. The shot went wide and did not trouble Misa.

Spain continued to create chances with Salma, Jenni and Athenea all getting close, Athenea providing impressive cutbacks for Esther and Jenni Hermoso while combining play with Ona and Aitana on the right flank. Teresa controlled the tempo of the game in impressive fashion. There were panic stations in the Costa Rican area every time Spain attacked with Ivana trying to go over the wall with a great header.

Amelia Valverde's team were succumbing, and, on the ropes, Spain was able to start playing their one touch football. The goal was not long in coming with Jenni Hermoso starting the play for Athenea, who from the center of the box opened up on the left for Esther. The former Real Madrid player’s kick was sent by Valeria del Campo into the back of her own net.

The second came within a minute this time from a Spanish player Aitana Bonmatí, Athenea slipped through the defenders, Ona Battle left the ball in the area and Aitana did what she knows with an admirable technical resource and an accurate shot with her left foot.

La Roja saw the door open and began applying more and more pressure. Esther, Carmona, and Hermoso had other clear-cut chances as Costa Rica struggled to keep up.

The third came when Esther took advantage of a miscommunication in the Costa Rican defense to beat Solera for the third Spanish goal after a wonderful cross from Teresa which found Jenni Hermoso who hit the post before the ball found Esther.

Costa Rica, overwhelmed on all sides, conceded a penalty in one more run of play by Olga on the left. Jenni took the kick, but it was saved. Spain had devastating recording 26 shots in the first half - a world cup record - but still needed to take their chances.

Spain started the second half in the same explosive fashion, with the team now in complete control La Roja began to show off. Jenni’s audacious back heels and nutmegs, Athenea’s dribbles, Salma’s unstoppable runs... It was all Spain with Olga trying a few shots from distance. Costa Rica’s goalkeeper made some amazing saves to keep the scoreline representable. Alexia, Caldentey, Redondo, and Zornoza were introduced for Athenea, Esther, Salma and Teresa with Alexia receiving a standing ovation from the 22,966 people gathered in the capital of New Zealand.

La Roja tried to score more goals with Caldentey, Aitana and Hermoso creating half-chances, but Costa Rica stood firm. Spain won 3-0.

With a positive opening day result and good vibes generated, the Spain squad returns to Palmerston North - its base Camp to prepare for Zambia on Wednesday who will pose a different threat.

Teresa, Aitana, Ona and Olga were impressive with Aitana Bonmatí getting the player of the match.

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