Who is the referee for Spain vs Costa Rica in the World Cup 2022 group game?

Spain will be looking to get their World Cup campaign off to an encouraging start in their opening game against Costa Rica this evening. Both will be aware of the result of the game between group rivals Germany and Japan which kicks off three hours earlier with Group E looking like one of the toughest groups on paper.

After clinching their first title in South Africa in 2010, Spain disappointed in their last two World Cup outings – dumped out at the group stage at Brazil 2014 and eliminated by hosts Russia in a penalty shootout in the Last 16 the last time out. They could find themselves battling with Germany to secure top spot in Group E and so have no margin for error in their opening game against a Costa Rica side which has found stability under Colombian coach Luis Fernando Suárez.

Suárez identified his team’s principal strengths as their tactical savvy as well as their mental tenacity – attributes which they displayed during their intercontinental play-off win over New Zealand. He has turned a side that went 11 games without a win into a team which is uncomfortable to play against and difficult to beat. On the downside, the squad is in need of replenishing with an average age of 27 – for veterans like Keylor Navas, Bryan Ruíz and Celso Borges, this will be their last appearance on the big stage. Another moot point is the team’s struggles to find the net. Suárez ‘s Costa Rica warmed up for Qatar 2022 with three friendlies, beating Uzbekistan and Nigeria and drawing 2-2 with South Korea.

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Spain in training session at the Qatar University Training ground in Doha this week.JAVIER SORIANOAFP

Spain is ready

Spain coach Luis Enrique, who has been posting a video blog about the experience in Qatar on social media, was upbeat about getting off to a good start. “We know Costa Rica very well, they have experienced player who know what it means to play at a World Cup. Any of the 32 national teams can win the World Cup. I’ll be managing our debut calmly, as always. I think it will benefit us to play our opening game just 10 days of preparation – it’s better than waiting two weeks. We’re raring to go and I think we will give a good account of ourselves,” he told reporters.

For Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suárez, he is proud to have steered his team to the finals when many people thought they had no chance of qualifying. He told AS what he expects from his team during the group stage. “We’re up against Germany, and Japan too – a very capable side who are tactically astute, what Japanese people are known for – intelligent and hardworking… For teams like Costa Rica, you can never say things are going to be easy. There will always be a European or South American side in the group so we will always be in a situation where we are battling to stay alive. That’s normal. It will change the day Costa Rica becomes a world power, only then will they look at us with different eyes…”

Spain vs Costa Rica match official

Emirati referee Mohammed Abdulla will be making sure the game runs smoothly and without incident. He has been a FIFA-recognised international referee since 2010 and curiously, oversaw Costa Rica’s intercontinental play-off game against New Zealand back in June.

He will be accompanied by assistants Mohamed Al-Hammadi and Hasan Al- Mahri with Ning Ma appointed Fourth Official.

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