Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Sports | By Phillip Butler

World Cup finalists Croatia thrashed by Spain

World Cup finalists Croatia thrashed by Spain

Luis Enrique took charge after the humiliating exit to Russian Federation at the World Cup had left Spain doubting the possession game that won them three consecutive major tournaments between 2008 and 2012.

Luka Modric's Croatia threatened early in the southeastern Spanish city of Elche, but Spain took control of the match by scoring three goals in 11 first-half minutes.

For whatever it's worth, the revamped Spain team looked quite sharp, using a more direct approach than the various forms of tiki-taka we have come to expect since La Roja's 2010 World Cup win.

Spain followed its gritty 2-1 win against England at Wembley Stadium last week with a 6-0 rout of World Cup runner-up Croatia on Tuesday, keeping Enrique ideal since taking over as La Roja's coach.

Lovren was fantastic alongside Vida at the World Cup, and earned his place in the official team of the tournament.

La Roja got off to a slow start in the opening exchanges of the match, while Croatia seemed to have settled the better of the two teams as they surged forward easily. Spain were in a confident mood after winning their first game under Luis Enrique 2-1 away to England in their Nations League opener on Saturday and once they scored the floodgates opened and Croatia were left chasing shadows.

Spain now have six points in UEFA Nations League Group 4 after two games.

Spain manager Luis Enrique has rubbished suggestions that only one Barcelona player started in their UEFA Nations League match against Croatia exclusively because of hard feelings towards his former employers.

That counted as one of four assists for Asensio on the night, with a more conventional one coming four minutes after the restart when he released Rodrigo who nutmegged Kalinic for his fourth goal in six starts for his country.

Ten minutes later Marco Asensio made it 2-nil with a powerful shot.

Croatia's biggest defeat had been a 5-1 away loss against England at Wembley in 2009. Spain was coached by Fernando Hierro in Russian Federation after Julen Lopetegui was sacked two days before the tournament.

Rodrigo, Isco and Thiago Alcantara all had chances to extend the scoreline, but the defence and Kalinic were able to keep them out and avoid making it even more embarrassing.

Belgium earned a comfortable win over Iceland thanks to a pair of goals by Romelu Lukaku and one from Eden Hazard.

Belgium had defeated Scotland 4-0 in a friendly last week in Glasgow.

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