As the final whistle blew at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Spain established that they can still play the football of champions.
Costa Ricans walked off the field with utterly ashen faces while the Spaniards proved themselves to be serious contenders for the title.
And while Luis Enrique’s side bullied the Costa Ricans to no end, 1 midfielder ran the entire show in consultancy with his fellow midfielder.
Who? Pablo Martín Páez Gavira. A mere 18-year-old. And yet, easily the guy in complete command of the winning side’s attack.
It only took 11 minutes for Gavira, affectionately called Gavi, to put his brilliance on display as he attempted to flick the ball above the defender in front of him.
While his flick deflected off a Costa Rican, it still reached the desired recipient Dani Olmo who wasted no time in slotting the ball in the back of the net. And thus began a traumatic night for Cost Rica.
The 18-year-old dominated the entire Spanish attack, consistently slicing through Suarez’s 4-4-2, which quickly devolved into a 5-4-1.
The Spaniard finally managed to get a goal and a spot in history reserved for himself in the 74th minute with a volley that can be best described as a sublime screamer.
As Morata crossed the ball into the penalty area, Gavi, with absolute magnificence and in plenty of space, volleys the ball straight past the keeper, into the inner right post, to score Spain’s 5th goal of the night.
Gavi’s volley was stunning enough to leave Costa Rican keeper Keylor Navas rooted to his spot on the goal line with his hands up in dismay.
The 18-year-old Barcelona midfielder, with that beauty of a goal, became the youngest Spaniard to score for his country in FIFA World Cup history.
Gavi showed the world that he definitely has the potential to be a Ballon d’Or contender in the future on the sheer merit of his game and his mannerisms on the pitch.
The 18-year-old also showed his mettle when he refused to walk away from a verbal altercation with Kendall Waston, a player twice his size. But, for Gavi, it was a matter of protecting his own side.
Waston got into an altercation with Spain’s defenders in the 79th minute of the game. And the Golden Boy of Spain, running on the high of his life, refused to back down from the 6 feet 5 inch Costa Rican.
Twitter instantly took it upon itself to point out the ludicrousness of the situation and the dominating persona of Gavi, in the face of an obvious threat, by sharing images of the two in a face-off.
And it seems fans don’t know how to react to the amusing situation wherein a tiny 1.73-meter-tall Gavi engages in an argument with a behemoth Waston.
And yet, given the extent of torture the 18-year-old has put the Costa Rican team through over the course of 90 minutes, Gavi has succeeded in establishing his dominance and command over his team’s attack. And he puts that tendency to dominate on display facing off with a guy twice his size.