Spain made a swashbuckling start to its Euro 2024 campaign, with a furious first-half burst setting up a resounding 3-0 victory over Croatia in Berlin.

Alvaro Morata, Fabian Ruiz and Dani Carvajal all found the target in the opening period to send the 2008 and 2012 champ straight to the top of Group B and provide an immediate boost in confidence.

Spain vs. Croatia Highlights

Luis de le Fuente’s side entered the tournament with plenty of questions, yet they were all answered – emphatically so – as World Cup bronze medalist Croatia was made to look decidedly ordinary.

Morata got things going with a fine finish after 29 minutes, capitalizing on a direct ball down the middle, and has now scored seven goals across the last three Euros, to sit behind only Michel Platini and Cristiano Ronaldo on the all-time tournament list.

The 2008 and 2012 champion had been unable to match its historic prowess recently, but looks to have real backbone this time – plus an exhilarating dash of youth in 16-year-old winger Lamine Yamal.

After Ruiz crafted a neat finish with some deft footwork in the penalty area 32 minutes in, Yamal essentially put the result beyond doubt with a perfect cross for Carvajal to touch home just before the break.

Croatia, so resilient at the World Cup and with a midfield led by iconic veteran Luka Modric, could not prevent itself from getting unpicked time and again.

However, Croatia should have pulled at least one goal back during the second half. Desperate defending from Marc Cucurella and goalkeeper Unai Simon prevented one golden chance, then Spain survived another golden opportunity later.

Bruno Petkovic was bumped over by Rodri as he was about to tap the ball into the net, and when Simon saved the resulting penalty, Petkovic’s follow-up was disallowed because Ivan Perisic had encroached into the area.

Dani Carvajal meets a cross to find the back of the net, giving Spain a 3-0 lead over Croatia

In hindsight, Rodri might have been better served allowing the initial goal instead of committing the foul that earned him a yellow — it might have legitimately been a red — but that tenacity sums up the current toughness in the Spain squad.

Group B is supposed to be the Group of Death, also featuring defending champion Italy and a tough Albania team, but there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly deadly about it for de la Fuente’s team.

Spain is off and running – and looks mightily dangerous.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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