Tuesday 25 September 2018

Spain hit listless Croatia for six

Spain's Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring their fifth goal with team mates. Photo: Reuters
Spain's Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring their fifth goal with team mates. Photo: Reuters

World Cup runners-up Croatia were thrashed 6-0 by Spain in their extraordinary UEFA Nations League opener in Elche.

The hosts were 5-0 up inside an hour against a strong Croatian line-up which included the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

Saul Niguez opened the scoring in the League A clash with a powerful 24th-minute header before Marco Asensio blasted two thunderous strikes in the space of as many minutes - the second deflecting home off Croatia goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic. Rodrigo added Spain's fourth goal four minutes into the second half and Sergio Ramos evaded his marker to head home the fifth in the 56th minute.

With Croatia showing no appetite for the fight, Isco cleverly dispatched his side's sixth goal and Rodrigo had late chances to make the evening even more embarrassing for the Croatians.

Elsewhere, Marcus Rashford's eye for goal helped England see off Switzerland with a victory that ensured the enthusiasm of a World Cup semi-final run did not descend into a record losing streak.

The feelgood factor Gareth Southgate earned in Russia this summer was dented but not ruined by Saturday's Nations League loss to Spain, and a 1-0 friendly win at Leicester's King Power Stadium ensured Southgate could again look forward with optimism.

Irish Independent

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