Cesar Azpilicueta played the whole 90 minutes as Spain got their World Cup campaign off to a flying start.
The Chelsea skipper helped La Roja to a convincing 7-0 win over Costa Rica in Group E, with first-half goals from Dani Olmo, Marcos Asensio and a Ferran Torres penalty setting the tone for a strong showing from the Spaniards, before Torres, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata added to the score in the second half to wrap up the victory.
Azpi started the game on the right of a Spain back four, being allowed the freedom to get up from right-back to support the attacks while still being required to help out defensively with Rodri, Aymeric Laporte and Jordi Alba.
Spain twice went close to opening the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes at the Al Thumama Stadium, with Barcelona midfielder Pedri at the heart of both moves.
First, he played a lovely ball to find the run of Olmo around the back but the forward side-footed wide after just five minutes, before moments later Pedri slipped in Asensio who also failed to hit the target.
The deadlock was broken just a couple of minutes later though, as Olmo played a one-two with Gavi before expertly bringing the ball down and lifting over Keylor Navas in the Costa Rica goal.
Luis Enrique’s side were totally dominant in Qatar and they doubled their lead on 21 minutes through Ansensio, who beautifully swept home a low Jordi Alba cross.
Things got even better for Azpi and Spain on the half-hour mark, as Torres made it 3-0 from the penalty spot after Jordi Alba had been brought down by Oscar Duarte.
Torres made no mistake from the spot, calmly slotting home after sending Navas the wrong way.
Our skipper was immediately involved in the action following the restart, winning the ball in a promising position for Spain before laying off to Asensio, but the Real Madrid attacker fired over.
La Roja did add a fourth nine minutes in the second half and it was Torres again on the scoresheet. This time, the Barcelona winger – who was playing as a central striker – wriggled his way through the Costa Rica defence before poking into the bottom corner.
The scoreline got even more impressive with 15 minutes remaining, as the highly-regarded Gavi volleyed home from a Morata cross with Navas well beaten.
Morata then had two opportunities to grab a sixth, but the former Chelsea striker squandered both chances – first firing wide before then being denied by a good save from the goalkeeper.
A sixth did arrive for Spain with a minute left to play, as substitute Soler was on hand to fire home from close range after his PSG team-mate Navas could only parry a cross into his path.
And Spain weren't finished there, as Morata added a seventh in injury time. The striker neatly spun in the box before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner.
The assured victory puts Spain in a very commanding position in Group E ahead of their next game against Germany – who suffered a shock defeat to Japan earlier in the day – on Sunday, before their final group match against Japan the following Thursday.