Empty stands a sad sight for Croatia’s Dalic in England stalemate

Angelo Anderson
October 13, 2018

Without any fans present as Croatia served the second game of a crowd ban for racist offences by their fans in Euro 2016 qualifying, the instructions from both benches echoed around the eerily empty ground in a tepid first half at the Rijeka stadium.

Eric Dier and Harry Kane also hit the woodwork for the visitors, who enjoyed the better of a subdued game befitting of the weird atmosphere.

A small band of England supporters perched on a hill overlooking the deserted 8,000 capacity stadium in Rijeka tried to offer their encouragement.

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 could easily hear the ones on the hill, they were the only ones here".

England were held to a 0-0 draw with Croatia on Friday night and fans on social media were not happy with the performance of one of their men.

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.

England started to dominate play and Rashford should have put the visitors ahead after 55 minutes, but the flimsy finish with which he greeted an inviting Kyle Walker ball into the box left Dominik Livakovic with a comfortable save.

Dier headed Jordan Henderson's corner off the post a minute before the break.

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

Dalic complained after a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain that his side were still worn out from their summer exertions and they faded again as England took control at the start of the second period. In these games we have to pick a team to represent the country as well as we can.

"On another day we would have won 3-0", said Barkley. People like Harry Maguire, going into the World Cup, I felt we needed a bit more protection for the defence and the opportunity to get two forwards in the game.

Southgate introduced debutant Jadon Sancho for the final 15 minutes, but the Borussia Dortmund attacker - England's second-youngest debutant in a competitive game after Duncan Edwards - was unable to make a match-winning impact.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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