efe-epaElche, Spain

The Spanish national soccer team made a statement here Tuesday with a 6-0 rout of 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia in the UEFA Nations League.

With victories in their first two matches, La Roja seem assured of advancing to the next stage in the inaugural Nations League, while Croatia will face questions after suffering the worst defeat in their history.

Both teams started aggressively in front of nearly 34,000 spectators at Elche's Martinez Valero stadium, though the visitors initially looked more threatening.

Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic had chances for Croatia, who were hampered when Sime Vrsaljko left the field with an injury in the 20th minute.

Though Rodrigo spearheaded Spain's attack in the early going, it was Elche's own Saul Ñiguez - author of the first goal against England last weekend - who gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute with a thunderous header off Dani Carvajal's deft cross.

Marco Asensio made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute with a shot from 20 yards out. Two minutes later, an Asensio strike hit the cross-bar and then bounced off Croatia keeper Lovre Kalinic into the net to boost Spain's advantage to 3-0.

Whatever faint hopes Croatia might have had of a comeback were shattered four minutes into the second half when an Asensio pass found Rodrigo alone in front of goal and the Valencia starter blasted the ball home for the 4-0.

Captain Sergio Ramos got the fifth goal for Spain at the hour mark and Isco added the sixth in the 70th minute.