Croatia's foray into the UEFA Nations League has gone just slightly differently than its World Cup did.
The finalists from Russia 2018 were blitzed by Spain in their group match Tuesday in a 6-0 defeat that set a new record low for the nation. Marco Asensio had a goal, forced an own goal and had three assists, while Saul Niguez, Rodrigo, Sergio Ramos and Isco all scored for the hosts in Elche.
The sides' first meeting since Croatia's 2-1 win over Spain at Euro 2016 went decisively in the other direction, as Spain tallied three times in an 11-minute span in the first half to open up a 3-0 lead, which doubled in a rampant second half.
Saul started the scoring with an expert header off a cross from Dani Carvajal in the 24th minute, with the Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid rivals joining forces for the opener.
Asensio added to it with a left-footed rocket from straightaway in the 33rd minute, and he followed that up two minutes later with another left-footer, this one a curler that took a deflection off the crossbar, hit off Croatia goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic's back and bounced in to make it 3-0.
Spain picked up where it left off at the start of the second half, with Rodrigo adding to the rout and making it 4-0 after timing his run, getting in behind to meet Asensio's pass and beating Kalinic on the break.
Asensio notched his second assist off a corner kick just minutes later, finding Sergio Ramos for a textbook header that made it 5-0 in the 57th minute.
Spain didn't relent. Isco made it 6-0 in the 70th minute, taking a pass from the right inside the box–also from Asensio–settling and rifling a right-footed blast by a helpless Kalinic.
Spain, which had 71% possession and outshot Croatia 14-3, finished off the rout to make it two wins in two matches in the Nations League after opening Group 4 play in League A with a 2-1 win over England in London on Saturday.