Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Gareth Southgate says England playing four-man defence a positive

England's match will be played in the temporary Stadion HNK Rijeka which has a capacity of 8,217 England's match will be played in the temporary Stadion HNK Rijeka which has a capacity of 8,217 Credit Getty Images
Cassandra Castillo | 13 October, 2018, 22:33

Marcus Rashford squanders two opportunities as England draw 0-0 with Croatia in their second UEFA Nations League outing.

Southgate threw on 18-year-old Jadon Sancho for his global debut 12 minutes from time in search of a victor.

Every player could be heard clearly on the pitch and it was more like watching a training session, or a game of Federation Internationale de Football Association, than a UEFA Nations League match.

The game is a rematch of this summer's World Cup semifinal, a game the Croatians won by a score of 2-1 to advance to the World Cup final.

The Three Lions wasted golden chances during a 0-0 draw with Croatia on Friday, with Gareth Southgate showcasing a new look for the team.

Tottenham striker Kane may have won the Golden Boot at the World Cup finals in Russian Federation, but hasn't scored in six games now, a run extended in Friday's 0-0 draw in Croatia.

Former Sunderland man Henderson, along with John Stones, will be unavailable to play against Spain away from home on Monday after both picked up bookings last night.

There was also a glimpse of the future as 18-year-old substitute Sancho became the first player born this millennium to play for the senior side, while 21-year-old Ben Chilwell impressed.

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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.

Pickford parried Perisic's low drive to safety up the other end in a more entertaining second half in Rijeka, and Rebic had Pickford a little anxious with his well-hit shot that ended inches wide.

Southgate's men failed to force a save in the first period but came close to the opener just before half-time as Dier met Henderson's corner with a glancing header that hit the far post.

One of England's biggest problems in the World Cup, despite reaching the semi-final, was the lack of creativity in the midfield.

The Liverpool midfielder was the more advanced of the two as Dier sat at the base with Henderson to his right and Chelsea's Ross Barkley on his left.

Southgate's side were now in the ascendancy and Rashford should have put them ahead.

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

"And I had no hesitation in throwing Jadon Sancho on late on".

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