Isco scored a hat-trick as Spain romped to a 6-1 victory over Argentina in Madrid, where the injured Lionel Messi again watched from the stands.
After being knocked out of the group stage in the last World Cup, the 2010 winners sent a strong message to their international rivals that they are back with a vengeance sparked by the sensational Isco.
The 25-year-old took advantage of some shocking defending to score a hat-trick – his first in Spanish colours. But it was Diego Costa, playing at the familiar surroundings of Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium, who opened the scoring on 12 minutes.
Spain raced into a 2-0 lead when Diego Costa stabbed past Sergio Romero before Isco side-footed his first goal.
Argentina, the two-time world champions, pulled it back to 2-1 through Nicolas Otamendi’s header.
Real Madrid’s Isco and Thiago Alcantara extended the lead to 4-1, with substitute Iago Aspas adding the fifth before Isco completed his hat-trick.
Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli has work to do to sort out a defence that was cut apart time and again in Spain’s capital. And Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is yet to win a major international honour with Argentina and may feel this summer’s World Cup in Russia is his last chance to lift the prestigious trophy.