NATIONS LEAGUE: Spain thrash Croatia 6-0

MADRID, Sep 11 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 9/12/2018 11:20:52 AM IST

Spain continued their excellent start under new coach Luis Enrique with a 6-0 thrashing of Croatia in the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday night, Xinhua reported.

Luis Enrique debuted with a 2-1 win over England at Wembley on Saturday night, but even the former Barca coach will probably have been surprised by the ease of his side’s victory over the runners up in this summer’s World Cup.

Spain made three changes from Saturday with Jose Gaya and Dani Ceballos making their debuts and Marco Asensio coming into the side, while Croatia field an apparently potent midfield of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic and Ivan Perisic.

Spain continued their more aggressive tactics under the former Barca coach and Saul Niguez scored his second goal in two games with a smart header following a cross from Dani Carvajal in the 23rd minute.

Asensio made it 2-0 with a left foot shot from outside of the area after a defensive error gifted him the ball with the Croatian keeper Lovre Kalinic out of position. Kalinic then scored an own goal to make it 3-0, although Asensio had most of the merit after another long-range shot hit the crossbar and went over the line after rebounding off the keeper.

Spain kept the pressure on and Rodrigo Moreno made it 4-0 with a smart finish after a pass from Asensio and Asensio had a hand in Spain’s fifth goal as he sent over the corner which allowed Sergio Ramos to make it 5-0 with a powerful header. Slack marking from Croatia then allowed Isco to score a sixth after he took a pass from Asensio and score with his right foot.

Croatia looked a shadow of the side that got to the World Cup final in July and never came close to even threatening a goal in a totally one sided game.

Lukaku shines 

Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku scored twice and won a penalty that Eden Hazard converted as they crushed Iceland 3-0 in Reykjavik.

Bustling forward Lukaku was bundled over by Sverrir Ingi Ingason in the 28th minute and the referee immediately pointed to the spot, with Chelsea playmaker Hazard calmly sending Hannes Halldorsson the wrong way with the resulting penalty.

Lukaku made it 2-0 to Belgium minutes later, firing a close-range shot on a rebound that was judged to have crossed the line before Birkir Saevardsson managed to clear.

The Manchester United striker then added a third with a deft flick nine minutes from full time.

It was Belgium’s first game in the new competition and ended a run of 13 competitive matches unbeaten at home for Iceland, who were hammered 6-0 by Switzerland away in their opening Nations League game on Saturday.

Iceland manager Erik Hamren has now lost his first two games as manager — conceding nine goals in the process — leaving the Nordic nation’s reputation for a miserly defense in tatters.

Finland 1 -0 Estonia
Hungary 2-1 Greece
Moldova 0-0 Belarus
San Marino 0-3 Luxembourg
Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 Austria

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