Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

England play out stalemate with Croatia in Rijeka

England play out stalemate with Croatia in Rijeka

Eric Dier and Harry Kane headed against the woodwork for the visitors while Marcus Rashford spurned two clear opportunities as England missed out on a first win in the new competition. "We were compact and aggressive, better than in last match", said Dalic.

The game was built up by some English media as a chance for the visitors to avenge Croatia's 2-1 World Cup semi-final win in Russian Federation in July but the game failed to produce any fireworks. "I don't know who it is good for".

With England having good chances to beat the side that knocked them out in Russia, Southgate was happy with how his players handled their opponents and the weird circumstances of an empty ground.

Failure to win this match means England need three points from their clash with Spain in Seville on Monday evening (Tuesday morning AEDT) to stand any chance of winning Group Four, as both sides sit five points adrift of Luis Enrique's men.

"We lose John and Jordan so there will be opportunities for others as well", said England manager Gareth Southgate.

Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal to end England's World Cup dream in Moscow, but without the Juventus striker, who has since retired from global football, Croatia lacked a focal point up front. We were a real threat (against Croatia).

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Southgate's men failed to force a save in the first period but came close to the opener just before half-time as Dier met Henderson's corner with a glancing header that hit the far post.

Ivan Perisic's blocked effort was the best they managed in the first half until overlapping Pivaric fired over a cross to Andrej Kramaric, with the former Leicester striker's mishit attempt stopped by Jordan Pickford.

"It was not easy to come back after such a big defeat".

England enters having lost its only UEFA Nations League bout, falling to Spain 2-1. In these games we have to pick a team to represent the country as well as we can.

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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