The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup continues Friday (on FS1 and the FOX Sports app) with Spain battling Costa Rica in a Group C matchup at Wellington Regional Stadium in New Zealand, and La Roja already has a 3-0 edge at the break.
Spain is captained by veteran Ivana Andrés and boasts a host of offensive weapons. But one of them, superstar midfielder Alexia Putellas, was on the bench for the start of this contest. The development was a surprise given that Putellas is a back-to-back Ballon d’Or winner, FOX Sports‘ No. 1-ranked player in this year’s tournament, and also considered one of the biggest X-factors in the World Cup.
Spain will still have a host of talent on the field, however, including star forward Jennifer Hermoso, a 2023 Golden Boot contender and FC Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer.
Jennifer Hermoso on Spain’s expectations
On the other side, Costa Rica isn’t lacking star power of its own. Las Ticas are led by standout midfielders Raquel Rodriguez — the national team’s record scorer with 55 goals — and Katherine Alvarado.
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Spain vs. Costa Rica
44′: What could have been
Spain’s Esther Gonzalez nearly made it a four-point game with a header late in the first half, but she wasn’t able to connect, and La Roja took a commanding 3-0 lead into halftime.
34′: Staying sharp
Costa Rica goalie Daniela Solera kept things within arm’s reach, denying Hermoso’s shot after Spain drew a penalty.
23′: GOAL! Spain is on a roll, 3-0
Gonzalez made it 3-0, collecting a loose ball and shoving it into the net.
Spain’s Esther Gonzalez scores goal vs. Costa Rica in 27′
23′: GOAL! Spain pushes lead to 2-0
Spain pushed its lead to 2-0 on a left-footed blast from Aitana Bonmati.
Spain’s Aitana Bonmati Conca scores goal vs. Costa Rica in 23′
21′: GOAL! Spain leads 1-0
Spain’s pressure paid off, as a cross bounced off a Costa Rica defender’s boot and into the net for an own goal.
Costa Rica’s Valeria Del Campo scores an own goal in 21′
11′: Costa Rica standing tall
Under the threat of constant Spain pressure, Solera did her best to keep the ball out of her net, tipping the ball aside on this close call.
9′: Playing the heel
Gonzalez nearly pulled off a backheel goal, slipping it just wide of the goal.
7′: Breaking ankles already
Spain forward Salma Paralluelo made easy work of her defender with some quick footwork on this play.
Setting the stage
The “World Cup NOW” crew previewed the match live on Twitter ahead of kickoff.
The Bear weighs in
Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica stopped by to preview Spain-Costa Rica, advising bettors to go for “overs,” early in the World Cup as teams play cautiously in order to avoid mistakes.
Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica previews Spain vs. Costa Rica
Check out the full Women’s World Cup schedule and how to watch each match live here. Find the latest scores here.
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