Luis Enrique saluda a Rakitic antes del partido

Luis Enrique opens door to a generation of Spanish talent

OPINION

@ErnestFolch

After the good sensations against England, Luis Enrique's new project with Spain faced the demanding task of overcoming a Croatia side led Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric, the World Cup runners-up and one of the sensations of the summer's tournament. 

The exam was passed in spectacular fashion, with direct and fun football, asphyxiating pressure and a storm released on the Croatian side, who suffered their worst ever defeat in international football (6-0). 

Luis Enrique shifted up a gear on the revolution which began at Wembley and it looks like we're going to see a new La Roja. In record time, the new coach has been able to transmit his enthusiasm onto the flagging side which competed in Russia and all of s sudden they believe in themselves again. 

There are several keys to the brutal start Luis Enrique has made: knowing how to evolve the model, as he did with Barça, getting the players to believe in his ideas and learning, for example, that it's not necessary to go down useless or dangerous paths in the press room. 

However, no factor is as vital as the generational change which has arrived with this new era. No player exemplifies that better than the irruption of Saul (23 years old, Atletico Madrid), who didn't even play a single minute in Russia. He's a direct, goal scoring omnipresent midfielder. He was accompanied against Croatia by Marco Asensio (22 years old, Real Madrid) and Isco (26 years old, Real Madrid) to create a majestic midfield. 

This new shade of red with Luis Enrique has more Madrid players than ever (six starters on Tuesday) and just one Barcelona player (Sergio Busquets). But more than each players' origin, the important thing now is their age. Luis Enrique's opened the door to a generation of young footballers that want to conquer the world. For now, they have to settle with conquering the all-powerful Croatia. 

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