Spain 8 Liechtenstein 0: Costa silences critics in rout
Spain made a fantastic start to their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign as Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata and David Silva all scored twice in a 8-0 hammering of Liechtenstein.
The 2010 world champions beat Belgium 2-0 last Thursday in their first match under new coach Julen Lopetegui - who replaced Vicente del Bosque after Euro 2016 - and they made it two out of two with a devastating display on Monday.
Costa hit out at what he perceived to be the Spanish media's negative attitude towards him following an impressive display against Belgium that earned him the nod up front for the Group G opener.
The Chelsea striker backed up his remarks with only his second goal for Spain to open the scoring in the 10th minute, before adding another midway through the second half to triple his tally for the national team.
Sergi Roberto, Silva and Vitolo all found the net in between Costa's double as Liechtenstein failed to cope with Spain's attacking threat in the second half after a strong defensive performance in the opening 45 minutes.
Two goals in just over a minute from Real Madrid striker Morata and a second in stoppage time from Silva rounded off the rout, which should give Lopetegui plenty of reason for confidence ahead of next month's qualifiers with Italy and Albania.
Spain dominated from the start and were rewarded when Costa beat his marker to head home from Koke's left-wing free-kick.
Liechtenstein initially did well to keep things tight at the back, but Koke was unfortunate to see a strike cleared off the line by Michele Polverino, before Costa headed just wide after some good work from Vitolo down the right.
Koke hit the crossbar with a free-kick shortly after the break and Spain finally doubled their lead in the 55th minute as Roberto poked beyond goalkeeper Peter Jehle following a sublime throughball from substitute Nolito.
Vitolo set up Silva to tap in and make it 3-0 in the 59th minute and the Manchester City playmaker returned the favour 65 seconds later as the Sevilla winger capped a fine performance with an easy finish.
Liechtenstein were simply unable to contain the Spain attack and Costa piled further misery on the away side when he nodded a fifth goal past Jehle after seeing his initial shot kept out the beleaguered goalkeeper.
Morata showed his class with a late brace, squirming in a near-post effort before hitting home from the edge of the area, with Silva's injury-time strike applying the finishing touches to a dominant display in Lopetegui's first competitive game in charge.