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Spain cruise past Costa Rica 3-0 in Women’s World Cup mismatch

Spain fired a warning shot to their Women’s World Cup rivals with a 3-0 defeat of Costa Rica on Friday, with superstar Alexia Putellas making a late cameo off the bench.

The Spaniards showed why they’re among the favourites in a Group C mismatch in Wellington, rifling 46 shots against opponents who spent nearly the entire game defending and were flattered by the scoreline.

La Roja dominated possession from the off with their slick passing and threatened a rout when all three goals came in the space of six minutes midway through the first half.

They were joined in the 77th minute by reigning two-time Ballon d’Or winner Putellas, whose fitness had been in doubt after cutting short a training session on Monday.

Coach Jorge Vilda indicated on Thursday he would carefully manage the workload of the 29-year-old midfielder, who hasn’t completed a full game since returning in April from a serious knee injury.

Putellas produced some neat touches over the closing minutes but couldn’t help a frustrated Spain add to the scoresheet.

Her Barcelona team-mate Aitana Bonmati was a classy playmaker throughout most of the contest, creating many of Spain’s best chances and finding the net herself.

Bonmati was one of three players who returned from a nine-month exile to play in the World Cup.

She was among a group of 15 who made themselves unavailable for selection in a player revolt against Vilda that rocked Spain’s preparations.

The first goal came 21 minutes into the contest when Costa Rica defender Valeria del Campo sliced a low cross from Esther Gonzalez into her own net.

Bonmati doubled the lead Gonzalez grabbed the third with a close-range volley.

It should have been four soon afterwards but Jennifer Hermoso was denied from the penalty spot by goalkeeper Daniela Solera, who was a critical figure in keeping the scoreline down.

Solera made nine saves, including a host of fingertip efforts in the second half, as Spain lost some fluidity.

Costa Rica are still searching for a first World Cup win, having failed to advance from the group phase in their lone appearance eight years ago, when their opening match was a 1-1 draw with Spain.

The teams share the same group as Japan and Zambia, who meet in Hamilton on Saturday.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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