UEFA Nations League Roundup: Spain humiliate Croatia with thumping win

UEFA Nations League Roundup: Spain humiliate Croatia with thumping win

UEFA Nations League Roundup: Spain humiliate Croatia with thumping win

Belgium began with nine of the players who started the World Cup third-place playoff win against England in Russian Federation, with the injured Kevin De Bruyne replaced by Dries Mertens.

This defeat was Croatia's worst defeat in their global history, and came as a shock to the footballing world, just after their recent brilliant performance at the World Cup.

Marco Asensio was their outstanding performer with one goal - Spain's second, driven in from 25 yards - and three assists.

It is 16 years since Madrid had six players in the Spain team as happened against Croatia while Barcelona, whose players were the mainstay of the Spain side during their recent golden period had just Sergio Busquets starting.

Elche native Saul Niguez opened the night's scoring in the 24th minute with a leaping header off Dani Carvajal's long diagonal cross that bounced past Croatia goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic. Moments later, Asensio's curling shot took a deflection off the crossbar, hitting the Croatian keeper's back and bouncing in.

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They'd have seen Spain edge out England 2-1, with a largely impressive opening display under new boss Luis Enrique - and will now be raring to take on the Spanish themselves at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero in Elche.

Luis Enrique couldn't have asked for a much better start as coach of Spain's national team.

La Roja now top Group four in League A with six points, followed by England and Croatia respectively.

A somewhat surprise starter given Iago Aspas' showing against England, Asensio repaid his coach with arguably the finest performance of his career. He was unable to cope with the pace of Asensio or Rodrigo, was pulled out of position far too often and lost Ramos at a corner for Spain's fifth.

Croatia meet the Three Lions in a repeat of the World Cup semi-final on October 12 in Rijeka.

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