Marco Asensio hails Spain after Croatia thrashing

Luis Enrique shouts instructions to his players during a training session on Monday afternoon

Luis Enrique shouts instructions to his players during a training session on Monday afternoon

Luis Enrique couldn't have asked for a much better start as coach of Spain's national team.

Croatia, which lost the World Cup final to France, fell apart after defender Sime Vrsaljko had to be substituted due to an injury just minutes before Spain's first goal.

It was Croatia's heaviest ever defeat and the second time Spain have scored six times this year, having thrashed Argentina 6-1 back in March.

Star man Luka Modric will come up against many of his club team-mates for the visitors, and global team-mate - and Barcelona player Ivan Rakitic - is happy to have the Real Madrid man on his side.

Spain's Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring their fifth goal with teammates.

After this game, Croatia will host England in their next Nations League match on Friday 12 October. Two matches, two convincing wins against top opponents in the UEFA Nations League.

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.

Croatia's biggest defeat had been a 5-1 away loss against England at Wembley in 2009. "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. Spain was coached by Fernando Hierro in Russian Federation after Julen Lopetegui was sacked two days before the tournament. They replaced Marcos Alonso, Thiago Alcantara and Iago Aspas.

Tuesday's match in Elche marked ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique's first home game as Spain manager, and his second win in as many matches since taking over La Roja reins in July.

The hosts will need to be in better form against Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard than in their last game, the first without influential manager Heimir Hallgromsson, where they were beaten 6-0 by Switzerland.

Belgium had defeated Scotland 4-0 in a friendly last week in Glasgow.

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