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Nations League: Croatia and England draw in Rijeka


Croatia has stretched its unbeaten run at home to 13 matches after drawing 0-0 with England in the UEFA Nations League behind closed doors at Rujevica stadium in Rijeka on Friday night. 

The match, which was a repeat of the World Cup semi-final, was the first time in history that England had played behind closed doors, whilst it was Croatia’s fifth.

Coach Zlatko Dalić named six players who played in that July semifinal in the starting lineup – Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić and Ante Rebić, whilst England coach Gareth Southgate made a number of changes, giving Ben Chilwell his first start and recalling Ross Barkley, who last played in May 2016.

The match was played behind closed doors (HNS)

Croatia came closest first in a quiet first half in which both sides looked as if they did not want to take any risks when in the 20th minute Perišić’s thumping shot from a planned corner move was blocked five yards out.

Then in the 37th minute, England keeper Jordan Pickford was called upon to make a good save from Andrej Kramarić who was left free in the box.

England’s best chance came minutes before half-time when Eric Dier’s header from a corner from the right hit the post.

Perišić had the first chance of the second spell when his rocket from just outside the box was saved by Pickford. England then hit the bar when Kane rose high from a free-kick as the match came to life.

Perišić came close twice (HNS)

England had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 55th minute when Rashford was left unmarked in the box but he shot with only Livaković to beat was poor. Then moments later it was Rashford again one on one with Livaković and again the Croatian keeper was up to the task making a sharp save down low.

The tempo had definitely lifted in the second half as both sides looked to break the deadlock. Rebić came close in the 70th-minute with a curling shot from outside the box but there would be little else as both sides would have to settle for a point apiece.

Spain remains top of the group with 6 points, followed by Croatia and England who have one point each. Spain takes on England in the next match on Monday in Seville whilst Croatia’s next match will be against Spain in Zagreb in November.

UEFA Nations League
Rujevica stadium, Rijeka

CROATIA – Livaković, Jedvaj, Vida, Lovren, Pivarić, Modrić, Rakitić, Kovačić (Badelj 73′), Perišić (Pjaca 68′), Rebić (Livaja 80′), Kramarić 

ENGLAND – Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Chilwell, Dier, Henderson, Barkley, Sterling (Sancho 78′), Kane, Rashford

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