England play out stalemate with Croatia in Rijeka

Annette Crawford
October 13, 2018

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 global debut before the match fizzled out in the final few minutes.

Croatia were completing a UEFA sanction after a swastika symbol was carved into the pitch during a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy over three years ago.

In front of the empty stands, Marcus Rashford missed two glorious chances to exact England a small measure of revenge for missing out on the World Cup final to Croatia 93 days ago in Moscow.

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).

Expanding on the thinking behind the change, Southgate added: "I don't think you should be rigid and say that's what we're doing and stick with it regardless".

The pair used to start together for England as the Three Lions fought for qualification to the World Cup but many fans often slated the option, with some feeling it is far too negative a pairing.

Jordan Henderson and John Stones are suspended for the game against Spain, meaning Southgate has plenty of issues to resolve ahead of the encounter.

Stadion HNK Rijeka will host the Nations League match
Stadion HNK Rijeka will host the Nations League match

There was precious little else of note in a largely drab half in Rijeka, where Croatia found the best way to stop England's rapid attackers was scything them down.

Henderson's omission will mean the midfielder will now likely be at full fitness for Saturday's trip to Huddersfield.

Croatia's Ivan Perisic forced a good save from Jordan Pickford with a stinging low shot and Ante Rebic, playing in an unfamiliar lone striker role, fired inches wide with a long-range effort for the revamped home side.

One of England's biggest problems in the World Cup, despite reaching the semi-final, was the lack of creativity in the midfield. Also Ross Barkley, who had a good impact on the game as well.

A completely miscued finish was followed by a failure to test Livakovic from a glorious position, squandering two chances to hand England the lead.

"Football is played for the fans".

History boy Sancho showed flashes of excitement after his 78th-minute introduction, with his threatening late cross causing problems in a match that ended goalless.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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