BERLIN: Spain overran Croatia 3-0, striking three times in a superb Group B first half to underline their claim to be among the UEFA Euro favourites.

Luis de la Fuente’s men, chasing a record fourth Euro crown, struck twice in three minutes, with Fabian Ruiz setting up Alvaro Morata in the 29th and then firing in himself.

First-half stoppage time saw Dani Carvajal jab in a third from a cross by Lamine Yamal who, at 16, had become the youngest player to feature in the final stages of the European Championship.

Croatia, desperate to replicate their World Cup success of recent years at a Euro where they have never won a knockout match, were no match for Spain’s clever attacking play.

Croatian fans far outnumbered Spain supporters in Berlin’s historic Olympiastadion but had little to cheer.

Ante Budimir header was narrowly off target with an early before a sharp Spanish counter-attack carved a chasm through the heart of the Croat defence and Fabian sent through Alvaro Morata to score. This was his seventh goal in Euro finals, only headed by Cristiano Ronaldo (14) and Michel Platini (nine) – albeit Platini scored his goals all in one tournament (1984).

Two minutes later Pedri picking out Ruiz on the edge of the box and the midfielder sidestepped three defenders in different directions before scoring with a lo drive which took a slight deflection. Carvajal followed up with his first goal for Spain – his second important goal in three weeks after Real Madrid’s Champions Leahue victory over Borussia Dortmund.

Croatia had the Spanish defence scrambling in defiance once after the break but neither Budimir nor Josip Stanisic could prod the ball home.

Luck was always against them. In the 80th minute Spain keeper Unai Simon parried Bruno Petkovic’s spot kick and when the forward put the ball in the net on the rebound his effort was cancelled out by VAR because of encroachment.