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Spain humiliate Croatia, Belgium win convincingly in Nations League


Spain humiliate Croatia, Belgium win convincingly in Nations League

Spain humiliate Croatia, Belgium win convincingly in Nations League

Spain made it two wins from two in the Nations League with a 6-0 thrashing of Croatia on Tuesday while Belgium opened their campaign with a 3-0 win in Iceland.

Fresh from their win away to England, Spain proved too strong for World Cup finalists Croatia in Elche with a first half blitz effectively settling the tie in Luis Enrique’s home debut as coach.

Saul Niguez, Marco Asensio and an own goal from visiting keeper Lovre Kalinic set Spain en route to a perfect six points to top League A Group 4. Rodrigo, Sergio Ramos and Isco completed the record defeat for Croatia who are bottom, below England on goal difference.

Belgium join Switzerland on three points, each from one game, after Eden Hazard and a double from Romelu Lukaku saw off Iceland in Group A2. Iceland are without a point after two matches.

In Group B3, Bosnia-Herzegovina defeated Austria 1-0 while in C2 Finland beat Estonia 1-0 and Hungary edged Greece 2-1. Moldova drew 0-0 with Belarus and Luxembourg won 3-0 in San Marino in D2.

Croatia made a bright start away to Spain but they were made to pay for Ivan Rakitic – on his 100th cap – curling wide and Ivan Perisic failing to convert from close range when they were on top.

“In front of us were the World Cup runners-up,” Luis Enrique said. “After the first 20 minutes, we found space and we played between their lines. Our attitude has been commendable.”

Dani Carvajal’s outside of the foot cross was attacked brilliantly by Niguez whose header broke the deadlock in the 24th minute.

Asensio doubled the lead in 34 and moments later created the third when his long shot struck the bar and found the net after rebounding off the unfortunate Kalinic.

“We were really focussed and we needed to get this sort of feeling back,” Asensio said. “We’ve put in two great performances. The fans really got behind us, and it’s enjoyable to play here.”

Rodrigo scored shortly after the break and Ramos headed in a corner before the hour as Croatia fell apart. Isco fired a sixth in a defeat worst than Croatia’s previous record loss, 5-1 against England in 2009.

“We were not even a shadow of a team from before,” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said. “We need to know that it is a problem.”

Minnows Iceland have reached the last two major finals but were humbled 6-0 in Switzerland in their opening game and scarcely fared better against Belgium.

Hazard opened the scoring from the spot midway through the first period after Lukaku was fouled in the box and the Manchester United striker netted himself soon afterwards. He added another late on.

“Iceland were better in the first quarter,” Belgian coach Roberto Martinez said. “I could see how hard it was but we kept at it, then it was back for us, we scored three times and were better.”

Bosnia lead B3 on six points thanks to Edin Dzeko’s late goal against Austria, who are joint bottom with Northern Ireland on zero.

Finland have a 100 per cent record in C2 thanks to Teemu Pukki’s first half goal against Estonia, who are bottom without a point.

Roland Sallai and Laszlo Kleinheisler gave Hungary the win over Greece, who had levelled through Konstantinos Manolas, to leave both teams on three points.

And Luxembourg also won again away to bottom team San Marino in D2. They have a two-point advantage over Belarus, who could not break down Moldova.

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