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UEFA Nations League: Spain 6 – 0 Croatia

Pain in Spain for Croatia (HNS)

Three goals in a ten-minute period in the first half have helped Spain crush Croatia at the Manuel Martínez Valero stadium in Elche on Tuesday night. 

A first half double from Marco Asensio and goals to Saul Esclapez, Rodrigo, Sergio Ramos and Isco has helped Spain to a 6-0 win over Croatia in their UEFA Nations League clash.

The match started well for Croatia and the visitors had the chance to take the lead three times in the opening 20 minutes before the floodgates opened. 

Ivan Rakitić, who was celebrating his 100th cap for Croatia, shot wide in just the 5th minute after a defensive mistake from Spain. 

Ivan Rakitić earned his 100th cap (HNS)

Perhaps Croatia’s best chance came in the 14th minute when a good move out to Vrsaljko on the right saw him square the ball back across the face of the goal to Ivan Santini but his shot from 5 yards out went just wide. 

Ivan Perišić was next to come close three minutes later but his close-range shot was blocked. 

With Croatia looking the better side in the opening 20 minutes, it all changed in a nightmare ten-minute spell after defender Vrsaljko limped from the pitch. 

First, in the 24th minute, Esclapez headed home from a cross from the right after a great diagonal ball from captain Ramos.

Next Asensio capitalised on a midfield mistake from Croatia to fire a left-foot shot past Lovre Kalinić in the 33rd minute.

Two minutes later and Asensio again with a left-foot cracker which killed off the game. 

Spain only needed just over three minutes in the second half to extend their led when Rodrigo slotted home through Kalinić’s legs.

Things went from bad to worse for Zlatko Dalić’s side when Ramos headed home from a corner in the 57th minute to make it 5-0.

Spain was not done yet and made it 6-0 in the 70th minute when Isco with all the time in the world in the box calmly drilled past the hapless Kalinić.

Spain could have easily made it more but wayward finishing kept it to six.

The loss, Croatia’s worst ever, will give Dalić plenty to think about with the huge hole left by Mario Madžukić one of his main concerns.

“A great first 20 minutes then when Vrsaljko left the pitch we completely vanished. We fell apart completely. This is a big loss and hard to take but we have to learn from it. That is football, we must move on,” Dalić said after the match.

The loss leaves Croatia at the bottom of the UEFA Nations League League A table on goal difference with 0 points with England who they will meet in their next UEFA Nations League match in October in Rijeka.

Croatia: Kalinić; Vrsaljko (Rog), Mitrović, Vida, Pivarić; Modrić, Brozović (Pjaca), Rakitić; Kovačić, Santini (Livaja), Perišić

 

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