Spain thrashed Croatia 6-0 in the UEFA Nations League, in a reversal of the two team’s fortunes during this year’s FIFA World Cup. The Spanish, who went out early in the World Cup after a shootout loss to unfancied hosts Russia, played an amazing game in just their second match under former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique. La roja absolutely dominated Croatia, the World Cup finalists.
Sergio Busquets, who played under Luis Enrique previously at Barça, took part in only 59 minutes of the match and was subbed off after Spain took a provisional 5-0 lead. This comes in addition to Sergi Roberto being an unused substitute, Jordi Alba not being called up, and Gerard Piqué’s retirement from international play, all adding up to the Spanish team not demanding much from Barcelona this international break.
Their teammate Ivan Rakitić, who was also managed by Luis Enrique at Barça, played the full 90 for Croatia.
Saúl Ñíguez opened the scoring for Spain. Marco Asensio doubled the lead for the Spanish with a stunning strike from outside the box. Then, Asensio smashed another shot, that bounced off the bar, then onto the goalkeeper Lovre Kalinić, and finally into the net. An own goal which made it 3-0. Asensio assisted first a goal for Rodrigo Moreno, and then one for Sergio Ramos, and finally one for Isco to make it 6-0.
The Spanish are thrilled after such marked improvement in the early days of Luis Enrique’s reign. The crowd at the Estadio Martínez Valero in Elche chanted the boss’s name. Earlier, he had won his debut as national team coach, 2-1 against England. Having conceded first, Spain have now scored eight goals without reply over two matches.
Meanwhile the Croatians are left to wonder whether their golden generation has anything left in the tank after their massive effort to get to the World Cup final in Russia.