World Cup finalists Croatia thrashed by Spain

World Cup finalists Croatia thrashed by Spain

Spain's Sergio Ramos celebrates after scoring the fifth goal against Croatia during the Uefa Nations League, September 11, 2018.

Spain will host Croatia at Elche's Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero on Tuesday as the UEFA Nations League competition continues.

Croatia's best moment came before the first whistle even blew.

The hosts soon increased their lead with two thumping strikes from Marco Asensio, the second of which was given as an own goal to Croatia goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic as it bounced off him after crashing against the crossbar.

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.

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

"We played a spectacular game and rounded off a brilliant week. We saw it as a challenge and these are two important victories".

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To reach the Nations League finals next June, Spain need just two points from their remaining two games, at home to England and away to Croatia.

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

People were quick to jump on his decision to only include Busquets in the starting lineup, but Enrique insisted that he wasn't thinking about what club each player was at when making his selection for the national team.

Ivan Santini and Ivan Perisic missed good early chances before Spain seized control 23 minutes in, as Saul headed the ball in off the turf after being picked out by Dani Carvajal's sublime cross.

However, it was a lot more one-sided than most people envisaged as Spain dismantled the World Cup finalists in Elche.

Belgium earned a comfortable win over Iceland thanks to a pair of goals by Romelu Lukaku and one from Eden Hazard. The Manchester United striker then added a third with a deft flick nine minutes from fulltime.

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.

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