World Cup: Luis Enrique praises exceptional Spain but plans changes

Spain's coach Luis Enrique congratulates his team on their victory over Costa Rica. PHOTO: AFP

DOHA – Spain coach Luis Enrique heaped praise on his players after they demolished Costa Rica 7-0 in their World Cup Group E opener on Wednesday, saying they will approach the game against Germany with the same level of ambition.

Former champions Spain won by their biggest goal margin at a World Cup, with a Ferran Torres brace and strikes from five other players – Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata – taking them past the 100-goal mark in football’s global showpiece.

The Spaniards’ previous record victory was a 6-1 thrashing of Bulgaria at the 1998 World Cup, a match in which Enrique scored for La Roja.

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

“We were exceptional in our ball handling and finishing, with the same philosophy that the national team have 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.”

Part of his success is recognising 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,” he 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 line-up.

“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 shock 2-1 loss to Japan behind them.

Enrique added that he was surprised Germany lost their opening game, but he did not underestimate Japan’s threat.

“It was a surprise the way they started off, Germany, against Japan but there are surprises in football, you never know,” he said.

“Japan are a very good team, they’re a dynamic team, they have a lot of quality, quality players.

“You never know in football. We’re going to try to win the next match against them (Germany), we’re going to try to beat them, that’s the goal.”

Costa Rica, the last team to reach the World Cup via an intercontinental play-off, could struggle to win any points in their last two games after they failed to register any shot on goal against the Spaniards.

Defender Kendall Waston said the team would need to come together and fight back.

“We feel hurt and ashamed, it’s a result that nobody wants to experience, to lose 7-0 in a World Cup,” he said.

His coach Luis Fernando Suarez said his team were outplayed by a far superior side.

“They kept the ball throughout the match. We did the exact opposite, we didn’t have possession, we didn’t really attack,” he said.

“They played an amazing game and we didn’t.” 


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