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World Cup finalists no match for new-look Spain

Luka Modric competes for the ball between Dani Ceballos (left) and Isco.
Luka Modric competes for the ball between Dani Ceballos (left) and Isco. / EFE
  • Marco Asensio scored one and assisted three against Croatia in a performance about which coach Luis Enrique said he could have "no complaints"

Spain sit comfortably at the top of Group 4 table in the UEFA Nations League after a convincing 6-0 rout of World Cup runners-up Croatia in Elche on Tuesday night.

There were full international debuts for both Dani Ceballos and José Luis Gayà on a day when Croatia and Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic was given his 100th cap.

Despite a shaky start during which David De Gea was called upon to bail out Sergi Busquets who lost possession, La Roja were fully in control of the clash and took the lead in the 23rd minute through Atlético Madrid's Saúl.

The midfielder leapt highest to power home Dani Carvajal's cross from the right, giving keeper Lovre Kalinić no chance.

Kalinić was again helpless to stop Spain's second; Marco Asensio fired in a thunderbolt from distance on his left foot.

Just a minute later, with ten minutes to go until half time, Asensio thought he had his second, when his strike, after cutting in from the right, cannoned in off the crossbar. The records will show, however, that it was an own goal after the ball struck the keeper's back on the way in.

The onslaught continued in the second half when Rodrigo slotted the ball through Kalinić's legs in a one-on-one just three minutes after the break.

Spain, demonstrating a style based on quick transitions, also proved potent from set pieces in the 56th minute when Sergio Ramos bagged his 14th international goal when he headed in Asensio's corner.

The cherry on top of a resounding team performance, about which coach Luis Enrique said he had "no complaints", was delivered by Benalmádena-born Isco. The Real Madrid man converted Asensio's cross after a neat first touch gave him acres of space inside the area.