Asensio false nine, Rodri in defence for Spain against Costa Rica


Supporters of Spain cheer before the World Cup group E soccer match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha on Wednesday. AP

Luis Enrique has selected Marco Asensio as false nine for Spain’s opening World Cup clash against Costa Rica on Wednesday in Group E.

Alvaro Morata had a cold earlier in the week and the Real Madrid winger, who played well against Jordan in last week’s friendly win in that position, has kept his spot.

Manchester City defensive midfielder Rodri Hernandez starts the game at centre-back, a move coach Luis Enrique suggested he might make in some matches at the tournament.

Barcelona trio Sergio Busquets, Pedri Gonzalez and Gavi start in midfield, with Busquets the only 2010 World Cup winner still in the squad, behind the two teenage creators.

RB Leipzig winger Dani Olmo was preferred on the left flank to Barcelona youngster Ansu Fati.

Veteran Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz starts on the bench for Los Ticos, while former Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas is in goal and looking to deny some familiar faces from his time in La Liga.

Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group E match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al Thumama Stadium on Wednesday (kick-off 1600 GMT):

Spain (4-3-3)

Unai Simon; Cesar Azpilicueta, Rodri Hernandez, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets (capt), Gavi, Pedri; Ferran Torres, Marco Asensio, Dani Olmo

Coach: Luis Enrique (ESP)

Costa Rica (4-4-2)

Keylor Navas; Keysher Fuller, Oscar Duarte, Francisco Calvo, Bryan Oviedo; Carlos Martinez, Celso Borges, Yeltsin Tejeda, Jewison Bennette; Anthony Contreras, Joel Campbell

Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez (COL)

Referee: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)

Agence France-Presse


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