Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Nations League: Spain thump Croatia 6-0 to top group above England

Nations League: Spain thump Croatia 6-0 to top group above England

Three goals in the space of 11 first-half minutes put the hosts on their way to a second successive UEFA Nations League victory, and they were five up before the hour mark.

Ahead of the game, Dalic said: "This is not a must-win match for us, but a good result would keep our mood positive and it's much nicer when you win". We needed to recover those feelings we had.

World Cup runners-up Croatia were humbled on their return to competitive football as a revitalised Spain ran out 6-0 winners at the Estadio Martinez Valero this evening. "It's nice to play here [in Elche]".

With two wins from two and a goal difference of +7, Spain are firmly in charge of the three-team Nations League pool.

"We have played against teams that have gone very far in the World Cup ... and we have risen to the challenge", added Asensio, who after his incredible performance against Croatia, will head into Real Madrid's clash with Athletic Bilbao brimming with confidence on Saturday. Their inclusion made Luis Enrique the first Spain coach in 16 years to name six Real Madrid players in a starting lineup, making a mockery of fears in the Spanish media when he was appointed that he would discriminate against Real players over loyalty to his former club Barcelona.

The two nations are facing each other for the seventh time, with Croatia taking the last meeting - a 2-1 win at Euro 2016.

Saul Niguez, who is becoming an undisputable starter in Enrique's team, headed in a cross by Dani Carvajal in the 24th minute, then Marco Asensio hit two remarkable long-range shots in the 33rd and 35th to give La Roja a comfortable lead before halftime.

Iceland manager Erik Hamren has now lost his opening two games as manager, conceding nine goals in the process, leaving the Nordic nation's reputation for a miserly defence in tatters. Yet despite missing one of their main playmakers, there was no lack of creativity in the side.

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