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Spain humiliate Croatia with thumping Nations League win

September 13, 2018 00:00:00

Spain's Saul Niguez, front left, celebrating with teammates after scoring his side's opening goal during the UEFA Nations League match against Croatia at the Manuel Martinez Valero stadium at Elche in Spain on Tuesday — AP

MADRID, Sept 12 (AP): Luis Enrique could not have asked for a much better start as coach of Spain's national team. Two matches, two convincing wins against top opponents in the UEFA Nations League.

Spain followed its gritty 2-1 win against England at Wembley Stadium last week with a 6-0 rout of World Cup runner-up Croatia on Tuesday, keeping Enrique perfect since taking over as La Roja's coach.

It was the biggest defeat ever for Croatia, which was playing its first competitive game since reaching the World Cup final in Russia.

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.

In the other League A match on Tuesday, Belgium won 3-0 at Iceland in its Nations League debut.

England followed the loss to Spain with a 1-0 win in a friendly against Switzerland, which had routed Iceland 6-0 in the Nations League. Marcus Rashford scored England's winner in Leicester.

The Nations League gives UEFA's 55 member countries competitive games and eliminates often meaningless friendlies.

Luka Modric's Croatia threatened early in the southeastern Spanish city of Elche, but Spain took control of the match by scoring three goals in 11 first-half minutes.

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