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‘This is Spain’: Luis Enrique’s stunning start unites press and fans | Sid Lowe

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Miserable World Cup campaign a distant memory after new manager defeats England and Croatia in first two games

At the end of Spain’s Nations League game against Croatia in Elche, Luis Enrique was asked how he felt. “Embarrassed,” said the new coach. He was not talking about the way his team had played, he was talking about the moment fans began singing his name. Managers here are not often serenaded, national team coaches even less so, and certainly not after two games in charge. Yet there was no mistaking the sound coming from the stands at the Martínez Valero. That was Luis Enrique’s name ringing round.

“I didn’t expect it,” he admitted but then they didn’t expect this, either. It is eight years since Spain were in the World Cup final and just eight weeks since Croatia were there, but on Tuesday night Spain defeated the World Cup runners-up 6-0. Yes, six. “We’re empty, we fell down after the World Cup. Now we have to rise up again,” said the Croatia coach, Zlatko Dalic.

Related: Asensio and Saúl inspire new-look Spain to six-goal thrashing of Croatia

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