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der brings. Luis Enrique called him “unique”,
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Well, this was different. A thousand pointless passes gave  way to incision, precision and goals – lots of goals. Spain, already heartened by what they had seen at Wembley on Saturday, got a first glimpse of their new national team in the flesh three days later and they could not have been happier. It is eight years now since they were in a World Cup final, glory days slipping further away. And yet, while it is only eight weeks since  Croatia were there, Luis Enrique’s team defeated them 6-0 in Elche, awakening hope that maybe they can You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. return after all.Saúl Níguez did not play a minute at the World Cup but this is a different era and he appears  set to lead You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. it, a symbol of a new Spain. In the two games the selección have now played under Luis Enrique he has opened You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. the scoring both times – first at Wembley and now against Croatia. The Martínez Valero is his home, the place he dreamed of You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view.playing as a kid, and it erupted when he leapt to head in the first, standing to applaud when he was finally withdrawn, the game long since won. Yet when the singing had begun, it was Marco Asensio who was serenaded.For Croatia this was truly shocking. Danijel Subasic, Dejan Lovren, Mario Mandzukic, Ante Rebic and Ivan Strinic were missing but it was more than that. They had no response. You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. The second half was painful; it was as if all they could aspire to was for the final whistle to blow.

 You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. Sergio Ramos’s speared pass found Dani Carvajal deep inside the Croatia area and with the outside of his You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. boot he You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. did not so much deliver a cross as an invitation. Saúl, running in, leapt and powered a header into the corner. It was the perfect example of what the Spanish call “arrival” – the late, impeccably-timed run into the area, breaking through You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. to score – and just one of many qualities the Atlético Madrid midfielder brings. Luis Enrique called him “unique”, “complete”, and when it was suggested that there were similarities between he and Saúl, insisted: “He’s a much-improved model.” As for Asensio, it was hard to find adequate words after this. At times, he appeared untouchable, barely believable.By the end it felt odd to reflect that it had not been easy until the goal arrived after 23 minutes. But then Saúl put Spain ahead. You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. Next, Asensio struck a shot arrowing into the net. He had not scored in 16 games for Spain before; 134 seconds  later, he had almost scored again, bending a vicious shot off the bar and in off Kalinic’s back.The heaviest defeat  in their history began with a wonderful goal.

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