Friday, 16 November, 2018

Croatia & England play out stalemate at empty stadium

Jadon Sancho- cropped Getty Images
Frederick Owens | 13 October, 2018, 19:22

A goalless draw was fitting of an empty experience with supporters shut out of the 8,000 capacity HNK Rijeka stadium, perched on a hilltop overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

"Football is played for the fans".

Just 93 days after the Three Lions lost to Zlatko Dalic's men in the World Cup semi-finals, the countries met in surroundings that could scarcely have been more different to July's huge encounter at the packed Luzhniki.

While some Premier League managers have questioned the logic behind another competitive tournament and many fans have admitted confusion at the concept, Cascarino says the games will be an important part of Southgate's project. "We dictated the flow of the game for a long period and the second half performance was excellent, pushing right to the end". "They were the only ones here". "But we have to forget Mandzukic, it is over, he is not with us anymore".

One of the biggest games in the early stages of the first-ever UEFA Nations League will be played on Friday when Croatia face England.

Andrej Kramaric had the hosts' best chance, but placed his shot from Ivan Perisic's cut-back too close to Jordan Pickford, who made a smart save.

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The only chance in the first half fell to Dier, who glanced his header against the far post after a Jordan Henderson corner.

England still have three other goalkeepers to choose from but Rose's exit, which came after Luke Shaw was forced to leave, means that Leicester's Ben Chilwell is now the only left-back in the squad.

Dalic complained after a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain that his side were still tired from their summer exertions and they faded again as England took control at the start of the second period.

"On another day we would have won 3-0", said Barkley.

There was also a glimpse of the future as 18-year-old substitute Sancho became the first player born this millennium to play for the senior side, while 21-year-old Ben Chilwell impressed.

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