Elche: Spain showed their remarkable potential under new coach Luis Enrique by destroying World Cup runners-up Croatia 6-0 here, Tuesday to hand the visitors their biggest ever defeat and take control of their Nations League group.
Midfielder Saul Niguez scored in his home city here by heading home midway through the first half, giving Spain the lead against the run of play after Croatia had made a bright start and missed two good chances.
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.
Rodrigo Moreno completed a fine team move after the interval before captain Sergio Ramos headed the fifth while a strike from Isco saw Spain become the first team to score six against Croatia as they charged top of League A, Group 4 on six points.
It was also the second time this year that Spain have scored six goals against World Cup runners-up, following their 6-1 win over 2014 finalists Argentina in March.
“We played a spectacular game and rounded off a brilliant week. We needed to recuperate the feelings we had before, we’ve played two great games,” said goalscorer Asensio, who also provided three assists.
“We’ve played two teams that went very far in the World Cup and these victories are very important to reach the final phase, which is a challenge we have set ourselves,” added Asensio.
Lukaku on rampage
Meanwhile at Reykjavik, Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku scored twice and won a penalty that Eden Hazard converted as they crushed Iceland 3-0 in their Nations League A, Group 2 clash.
Bustling forward Lukaku was bundled over by Sverrir Ingi Ingason in the 28th minute and the referee immediately pointed to the spot, with Hazard calmly sending Hannes Halldorsson the wrong way with the resulting penalty.
Lukaku made it 2-0 to Belgium minutes later, firing a close-range shot on the rebound that was judged to have crossed the line before Birkir Saevardsson managed to clear. The Manchester United striker then added a third with a deft flick nine minutes from full time.