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SPAIN-CROATIA

Saúl's return to Elche sparks last minute rush for tickets

La Selección se entrenó en la tarde de ayer en el Rico Pérez a puerta cerrada. Cerca de un centenar de seguidores esperó al equipo nacional en la puerta.

JUAN FLOR

DIARIO AS

Less than 1.500 tickets are available for the second Uefa Nations League clash for Spain under new coach Luis Enrique.

Elche is the next port of call for the Spanish national team after Luis Enrique's men recorded an impressive win last Saturday in Wembley. The Martínez Valero stadium is set to be full with the return of native Saúl Ñíguez becoming one of the major incentives for the late rush in tickets. The Atleti player has claimed that a lifetime dream will be fulfilled as he pulls on the red shirt ahead of the clash against Croatia in Elche.

Saul (England-Spain) at Wembley Stadium in London on September 8, 2018.

At the age of 23, Saúl has become the best local player of all time and is the only ever Elche born footballer to receive a full international cap. He comes from a rich footballing heritage with his father player for Elche for nine seasons and his brothers both in action for second division outfits with Jony also at Elche and Aarón in Asturias with Real Oviedo.

World Cup finalists

Saúl is not the only major attraction tomorrow as Spain return to Elche for the first time in ten years since a David Villa goal against Italy in 2008 was enough to secure a win against the , then world champions. Tomorrow's opponents are a Croatia side who made it to the final of Russia 2018 and a side full of big names which make the fixture that bit more enticing.

Soccer Football - International Friendly - Portugal v Croatia - Estadio Algarve, Faro, Portugal - September 6, 2018 Croatia's Luka Modric during the warm up before the match

The Spanish national team have played five games at the Martínez Valero and have yet to record a loss at the stadium with victories over Macedonia 3-0 in 1995 and Ukraine 2-1 in 2003 (both official competitive matches) along with three friendly games beating Belgium 3-0 in 1986; Egypt 2-0 in 2006 and lastly the narrow 1-0 over Italy in 2008. The ground was also one of the Spain 1982 World Cup venues and was the venue for the record win as Hungary demolished El Salvador 10-1.

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