Three months on from that devastating World Cup Semi-Final defeat, England have a chance to extract instant revenge on Croatia in a crunch UEFA Nations League clash at Stadion HNK, Rijeka. 

Both teams lost their opening matches of this competition against Spain last month, making this a real six pointer if either are to avoid relegation to League B. 

Team news

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Croatia have recalled defensive duo, Dejan Lovren and Ante Rebic to the squad after the pair missed last month’s fixtures. 

Sime Vrsaljko, Marcelo Brozovic, Borna Barisic, Lovre Kalinic and Duje Cop however are all absent with injury.  

England will be without Tottenham’s Danny Rose and Alex McCarthy of Southampton after the pair withdrew with minor injuries. 

Defenders, James Tarkowski and Luke Shaw have dropped out following their initial call-ups with injuries. Lewis Dunk and Ben Chilwell have replaced the pair and the latter could make his first senior England start following Rose’s withdrawal. 

James Maddison, Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho could also make their senior England debuts here. 

Stat Attack

  • England have won two of last five meetings with Croatia, during qualifying for 2010 FIFA World Cup (W2, L3). 
  • Both teams have scored in six of their eight clashes, drawing 0-0 in first ever meeting in April 1996 before England lost 2-0 a decade later. 
  • In two visits to Croatia, England have won and lost once. 

 

Prediction

For once, the pressure is off England here because Croatia will be the team having to match expectations and being behind closed doors will only pile the pressure on them. 

Both teams however have a habit of conceding with England conceding in two of their last four after netting first. Croatia meanwhile have kept just three clean sheets at home during a run in which they have scored in every home match since 2013.

I therefore can see a thriller here but England will of learned a lot about how Croatia grow into games as match wears on. 

For that reason, I can see them putting those lessons into action here and have two top youngsters in Maddison and Sancho who could be key in latter stages if come on as subs. 

Prediction: Croatia 1-2 England

Result: Croatia 0-0 England

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