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Asensio sees pre-World Cup spirit in Luis Enrique's Spain

By Opta
Spains Sergio Ramos and Marco Asensio celebrate during 6-0 demolition of Croatia

Elche, September 12: Marco Asensio believes Spain have recovered the positive spirit of their pre-World Cup form following Tuesday's destruction of Croatia in Elche.

The Real Madrid star scored one and forced another four goals as the home side inflicted a 6-0 defeat on the World Cup finalists in their Nations League clash.

It was Croatia's heaviest ever defeat and the second time Spain have scored six times this year, having thrashed Argentina 6-1 back in March.

Their World Cup campaign ended in chaos and disappointment, as they lost to hosts Russia on penalties in the last 16 after coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the tournament for holding talks with Real Madrid without informing the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

Asensio thinks they have recaptured some of the good vibes they felt before the tournament since Luis Enrique took charge.

"The truth is we had a great game. We concluded a very good international break," he told TVE.

"We needed to recover those feelings we had. We played two big games, our fans supported us, and it's nice to play here.

"Whenever I'm on the pitch, I try to do my best. We had a great game, on a collective level especially. We defend and attack together.

"We've played against teams who got very far in the World Cup. These games are important to reach the final phase."

Luis Enrique was thrilled with the way his side performed, including debutants Jose Gaya and Dani Ceballos, and described Asensio's shooting ability as "unique".

"It's difficult to overcome a team who presses like Croatia," he said to Teledeporte. "They had the chance to score, but then we were superior.

"The attitude of all the players was very good. Asensio scored two amazing goals. He has a unique strike. Players like Gaya and Ceballos made their debuts, and they should be proud.

"It's difficult to criticise something in a game of such a high level. I'll now analyse everything in detail. I'm where I want to be."

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    Story first published: Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 3:30 [IST]
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