Croatia, England fight out draw in empty stadium

Tanya Simon
October 13, 2018

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.

Mandzukic retired from global duty following his country's run to the World Cup final and Croatia have scored just one goal in three matches since, the latest of which was a 0-0 draw against England on Friday. "It is sad for football but hopefully this is our last time", said Dalic.

Ninety-three days on from their World Cup semi-final, which the Vatreni won 2-1 in Moscow, the sides played out a far quieter stalemate at an empty ground.

"I am satisfied with our performance, although I hope we'll be better".

The fact that no England fans will be allowed in the stadium for their team's clash with Croatia will give the Three Lions "a major boost", manager Gareth Southgate has declared.

Croatia followed orders by banning fans from its next qualifying contest against Bulgaria in October 2015, but it hasn't played a UEFA-sanctioned home match since.

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.

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It was unlikely the weather would clear on Saturday and the base camp is at least one-day trek from the nearest village. The climbers were attempting to scale the 7193-metre peak during the Autumn climbing season.

England will be without John Stones and Jordan Henderson for Monday's Nations League game against Spain.

"We could easily hear the ones on the hill", said Dier.

The game's first shot on target did not arrive until the 37th minute, when Andrej Kramaric failed to truly test Jordan Pickford from the centre of the box.

And six minutes after the break Kane rose highest to a Henderson free-kick only to see his looping header come back off the crossbar.

Ross Barkley had strong claims for a penalty waived away on his first worldwide appearance for two-and-a-half years before Rashford was twice presented with golden chances to score for the third straight game for his country.

At 18 years and 201 days old, Sancho is second only to Manchester United legend Duncan Edwards, who was 18 years 183 days old when he made his debut for England in 1955.

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