Gareth Southgate keeps faith in Marcus Rashford despite costly misses against Croatia

Jadon Sancho

Gareth Southgate keeps faith in Marcus Rashford despite costly misses against Croatia

The game was played behind closed doors because it was Croatia's second UEFA home match since a two-game sanction imposed after a swastika was marked on the pitch during a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy.

Others had more luck, despite the English Football Association urging fans not to travel.

The football authorities would be well advised to remember the game "without fans is nothing".

"He did something that none of the rest could do and that's control the tempo of a football match and when we talk about England not controlling a game, that's the thing the likes of Pirlo, Modric, Xabi Alonso and Xavi can do - they're the type of players you need at global level if you want to control games".

Since finishing as runner-up at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Croatia has drawn Portugal 1-1 before being thrashed by Spain, 6-0, in its first Natoins League contest.

Kane had a header crash off a crossbar, and a goal disallowed, as England enjoyed the better of the Nations League clash with the team that ended their World Cup dreams in a Moscow semi-final three months ago.

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. Even if the Premier League is so wealthy that clubs could cover wages and transfer fees without supporters coming through the turnstiles, this encounter proved that such a scenario would be tiresome and worthless. It hurts both teams, both sets of supporters and does absolutely nothing for the sport as a product.

"But good teams adapt".

It is for this reason that England must take a man out of their defence and into their midfield. "We could easily hear the ones on the hill, they were the only ones here". "They were the only ones here".

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Hornets midfielder Chalobah had to settle for a watching brief from the bench in Rijeka but Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, who left Vicarage Road for Manchester City in 2014, became the second youngest England player to win his first cap in a competitive game behind the legendary Duncan Edwards when he replaced Raheem Sterling in the 78th minute.

"He had the chance he buried from just offside", said Southgate. "Eric!" "Luka!" and "Harry's ball!"

"Ben Chilwell was excellent".

For the players, autopilot will have kicked in once the game began, with the lack of noise unlikely to affect their focus.

"I don't think we should ever be rigid and only have one way of playing". I'd like to have scored more for England recently.

A small band of intrepid England fans did manage to find a nearby hill to catch a glimpse of the Three Lions.

Neither side were in full flow in a boring atmosphere in Croatia, but England had the better of the chances with Harry Kane hitting the bar and having a goal ruled out for offside.

It was a result somehow symbolic of a largely unsatisfactory occasion.

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