UEFA Nations League Roundup: Spain humiliate Croatia with thumping win

Marco Asensio

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.

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.

Enrique took over Spain after the team's elimination against Russian Federation in the round of 16 of the World Cup.

Spain were three up at half-time against the World Cup runners-up thanks to Marco Asensio's two long-range strikes, the second going in off goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic, and an early header from Saul Niguez.

Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic wasn't too happy with his team's performance against Spain.

"It would be very easy to say that this is my Spain, generating many chances and conceding few goals, but the truth is that I am changing things very fast", Luis Enrique said.

Rodrigo scored after slipping past the Croatian backline on a through-ball from Asensio in the 49th minute.

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.

A memorable result was capped by a stylish sixth from Isco, who took a touch from Asensio's pass and fired high into the net across the helpless Kalinic.

Belgium, meanwhile, thrashed Scotland 4-0 at Hampden Park on Friday night, and have lost only one of their last 26 games, that being the World Cup semi-final to France.

The game, contested in the southeastern Spanish city of Elche, was only Enrique's second match in charge.

The victory left Spain comfortably ahead in Group 4 of the top-tiered League A in Europe's newest soccer competition, in good position to reach the tournament's final four in June.

Three minutes before the hour mark, Sergio Ramos made it 5-0 for Spain with a simple header inside the box, following a well-weighted corner from Asensio.

Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, so dominant at the World Cup, never took control while defensively, without Dejan Lovren, the mistakes kept coming.

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