Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Distinct lack of England fans will give us major lift, says Southgate

John Stones and Gareth Southgate on the pitch John Stones is still upset by the World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia Credit Getty Images
Sidney Guerrero | 13 October, 2018, 22:29

England wasted several gilt-edged chances as they were held to a 0-0 draw away to World Cup runners-up Croatia in a Nations League top-tier Group 4 clash behind closed doors on Friday (Oct 12).

"Football is played for the fans".

"He buried that chance but was just offside, but Harry will get us goals", Southgate said.

Ross Barkley went down in the area as Rebic challenged but the referee waved play on, and Walker then found Rashford but, with just the keeper to beat, the forward scuffed his finish.

Eric Dier and Harry Kane also hit the woodwork for the visitors, who enjoyed the better of a subdued game befitting of the freakish atmosphere. We dictated the flow for a long period and the second-half performance was excellent, pushing right to the end.

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.

England will be without John Stones and Jordan Henderson for Monday's Nations League game against Spain.

"Knowing they're all sequestered in frightful pubs over a thousand miles away, unable to call any of us a w***er to our faces, is an unbelievable feeling".

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"We need to stop talking about Mario Mandzukic", added Dalic.

The game's first shot on target did not arrive until the 37th minute, when Andrej Kramaric failed to truly test Jordan Pickford from the centre of the box.

Ross Barkley had strong claims for a penalty waived away on his first global appearance for two-and-a-half years before Rashford was twice presented with golden chances to score for the third straight game for his country.

Since finishing as runner-up at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Croatia has drawn Portugal 1-1 before being thrashed by Spain, 6-0, in its first Natoins League contest.

And six minutes after the break Kane rose highest to a Henderson free-kick only to see his looping header come back off the crossbar. "On another day, we will".

England's Jadon Sancho, Borussia Dortmund's exciting 18-year old winger, produced a darting run late on after coming off the bench to replace Raheem Sterling and make his worldwide debut before the match fizzled out in the final few minutes.

The Borussia Dortmund wonder kid showed some impressive touches but couldn't provide a final spark as England had to settle for a point.

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