Luis Enrique backs Spain to stay hungry after historic rout

ODD ANDERSEN / AFP / Getty

Doha, Nov 23, 2022 (AFP) - Luis Enrique believes Spain's hunger will only increase after they recorded the country's biggest ever World Cup victory in an emphatic 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica on Wednesday.

The 2010 champions dominated their opponents, who did not manage a shot at goal in the whole match, and in their second group game on Sunday face a desperate Germany, who were beaten 2-1 by Japan earlier.

Spain's previous record victory was a 6-1 thrashing of Bulgaria at the 1998 World Cup, a match in which Luis Enrique scored for La Roja.

However, while the Spain coach thinks that too much flattery can weaken a team's resolve, he is confident his side will stay grounded and focused.

"I have no doubt that we will play the next game with the same spirit, if not more," Luis Enrique told reporters.

"I have no doubts at all. It's true that praise weakens you, but don't worry about this group of players, I see them every day.

"(It won't happen) because there will be changes in the line-up, because they want to compete, to work hard.

"I doubt that would happen, it's never happened, this is a group of people ready to do things in the right way."

The coach said he was surprised Germany lost their opening Group E game, although he recognised Japan's threat.

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

"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."

Despite the superb display at Al Thumama stadium, Luis Enrique says he is planning on changing his starting line-up against Germany.

Timely riposte

La Roja have plenty of depth on the bench, with the likes of Barcelona forward Ansu Fati and Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente kept in reserve.

Debutant Alejandro Balde replaced Jordi Alba in the second half and impressed, while substitutes Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata both scored.

"I don't know who will play," Luis Enrique told TVE.

"If we achieve our objective, which is playing seven games, it will be everyone, not just 11 players.

"I don't think I've ever repeated a line-up and I probably won't repeat one."

Ferran Torres netted twice, while Spain's other goalscorers were Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio and man-of-the-match Gavi.

The team has been criticised in the past for not scoring enough goals and the Costa Rica destruction was a timely riposte.

"Many players have scored," added the coach. "I've always read that we're lacking goals, but since we've been in charge, we're one of the teams that have scored the most goals. Those are the stats.

"A lot of our players have goals in them. We get forward after a lot of link-up play, and I've never been worried about goals.

"We play against Germany next and they have to win, and so do we. We'll celebrate, go to dinner, and then start preparing for that game.

"Praise weakens you, but it's much better to start preparing for a game like this."

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Luis Enrique backs Spain to stay hungry after historic rout
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