Croatia vs. England - Football Match Report

Danny Woods
October 14, 2018

Croatia and England will face off in a UEFA Nations League group stage contest on Thursday, Oct. 12.

"There would be more concern if we weren't creating chances".

The home side got the match under way and tried to get the ball forward immediately, but England got it clear.

The Three Lions were outclassed by Croatia in the semi-final, in large past thanks to the play of midfielders Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

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.

Southgate's side then attacked, only for a neat passing move to break down when Jordan Henderson was unable to find the final ball.

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"If you look at England's players coming through, there's a lack of understanding about what controlling a game is and that can really influence the tempo of a match and make a game move at the pace they want it to".

Jordan Pickford was another loud presence, with the England goalkeeper continually urging his teammates on from the other end of the pitch, but by contrast, the Croatia players were much quieter; perhaps they knew what each other was doing in the first place, without having to shout all the time.

"It was odd, the first experience of it for all of us", Dier told Sky Sports. "A couple of fans got up on the hill, but once the game started it was in the back of our minds". Promising youngsters Jadon Sancho (Dortmund), Mason Mount (on loan at Derby County from Chelsea) and James Maddison (Leicester) all received their first call ups for the senior team. "We could easily hear the ones on the hill, they were the only ones here".

Dejan Lovren was booked for a clumsy tackle on Sterling as the first half petered out, but a much brighter start to the second half nearly brought a goal for either side.

Penalty claims were rejected as Ross Barkley, making his first England appearance in 868 days, went down in the box - and Stones' frustration at that decision resulted in a foul that brought a booking and suspension.

Kane is a natural goalscorer that may have seen his overall form and impact on games vary in recent months, but ultimately he will continue to get in the right areas to score. 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 freaky circumstances of an empty ground.

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