The first match of Group C is gonna be played between Spain and Costa Rica. Both the teams have met each other in the same group only in 2015 and that match ended in an 1-1 draw. Spain, with the team they've got and Costa Rica's recent form, would be very unhappy if this match ended in a draw, meanwhile Costa Rica's strategy would likely be to defend deep and play counter attacking football. That's the only way they're gonna tackle Spain's possession gameplay.
Kick‑off: 19:30 (local time)
Date: 21 July 2023
Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand.
Referee: Casey REIBELT (AUS)
Assistant referee 1: Ramina TSOI (KGZ)
Assistant referee 2: Lijun XIE (CHN)
Fourth official: Yujeong KIM (KOR)
Video assistant referee: Marco FRITZ (GER)
Assistant VAR: Armando VILLARREAL (USA)
Offside VAR: Sian MASSEY-ELLIS (ENG)
Here we go. The European clash is underway.
5′ | Spain's dominate the opening minutes
Spain, as expected seem to control the game in the opening parts of the game, but Costa Rica holds firm.
9'| Esther Gonzalez's flick
Esther Gonzalez tries to make the most from a low cross in a tight angle by flicking the ball just wide of the post.
11'| Ivana Andrew's header saved
The Costa Rica goalkeeper, Daniela Solera pulls off an amazing save from a header by Ivana Andres.
16'| Spain controlling the game
The Spanish players are playing some beautiful passing game and spending most of the time in the opposition's box but could not find the back of the net because of some last strech defending by Costa Rica.
21'| Own Goal by del Campo! (ESP 1-0 CRC)
Valeria del Campo scored an own goal.Spain was banging on the door and they got their reward through an own goal.
23'| Fantastic finish by Aitana Bonmati! (ESP 2-0 CRC)
Costa Rica hadn't even recovered from the first goal when Aitana Bonmati scored an amazing curler into the far corner with her left foot.
27′ | Spain scores again! (ESP 3-0 CRC)
After an array of corners, Esther Gonzalez scores again from a close with an acrobatic finish. It's three goals in 6 minutes for Spain and they're cruising away.
33′ | Penalty for Spain
Olga Carmona draws a foul in the penalty area and referee points to the spot to the dismay of all the Costa Rican players.
34'| Penalty saved by Daniela Solera
Spain's highest scorer in the World Cup finals, Jennifer Hermoso triggers a simple safe from Solera. A very casually taken penalty disallows Spain to take a 4 goal lead before the half time whistle.
44′ | Costa Rica on the counter!
The crowd cheer for Costa Rica for breaking forward and creating a half chance through a counter attack.
4 minutes of added time announced
45'| Half time : ESP 3-0 CRC
Spain has been fairly dominant in the first half as the score line depicts, scoring three goals in just 6 minutes. Costa Rica didn't get any time to settle down as Spain kept knocking on the door. The score could've easily been 4 in Spain's favor if Solera didn't save the spot kick. It seems the second half may bring us more goals if Costa Rica continues to defend like this.
2nd Half is underway!
The second half begins with Spain being in a comfortable 3 goal lead against Costa Rica.
50'| Carmona hits the bar
Olga Carmona couldn't convert a nice looking pass from Athenea del Castillo with her left foot and hits the frame of the goal.
57'| Solera with multiple saves
Daniela Solera is behaving like an one wall warrior. She pulled off three magnificent saves to keep Costa Rica in the contest.
58'| Substitution for Costa Rica
Cristin Granados replaces injured Maria Elizondo.
60'| Corner for Costa Rica
Costa Rica was awarded their first corner of the match but couldn't do anything with it.
63'| Substitution for Spain
Alba Redondo and Mariona Caldentey replaces Esther Gonzalez and Athenea del Castillo respectively.
66'| Spain keeps pushing
Spain is very persuasive and is still knocking on the door. No lack of stamina or enthusiasm has been noticed in them.
73'| Substitution for Costa Rica
Alexandra Pinell and Sheila Scott replaces Gloriana Villalobos and Maria Salas respectively.
77'| Substitution for Spain
Alexia Putellas and Claudia Zornoza replaces Salma Paralluelo and Teresa Abelleira respectively.
84'| Another chance goes begging for Spain
Mariona Caldentey find herself on the end of a brilliant pass by Putellas but gets confused between assisting or shooting and makes a mess of it.
88′ | Substitution for Spain
Oihane Hernandez replaces Ona Batlle.
4 minutes of added time announced
90'| Full time : ESP 3-0 CRC
Spain kept pushing till the every end to extend their lead but it just didn't happen. Costa Rica held Spain to their first half lead and conceded the match. Costa Rica should be thankful to Daniela Solera, Costa Rica's goalkeeper. She made some outstanding stops in front of the goal and saved Costa Rica from achieving an embarrassing scoreline. So the final score of the first Group C match ends 3-0 in Spain's favor.