Croatia, England fight out draw in empty stadium

Luka Modric

Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford both came close for England on what was a dodgy playing surface while Croatia had a few decent chances of their own.

Kane hit the crossbar with a header and had a goal ruled out for offside in the goalless draw with Croatia, but he has not scored for England since netting against Colombia at the World Cup.

The Nations League match had to be played behind closed doors, however, it proved to be a rather tiresome affair as both sides earned a point from the game.

"While we all endorse the campaign against racism and want to see all that prejudice and bigotry stamped out of the game, the nature of this punishment against the Croatian FA is also punishing the innocent", said Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters' Federation in England.

"The most important thing for the team is we create chances, look unsafe, and I have faith the players who didn't score will score".

Without any fans present as Croatia served the second game of a crowd ban for racist offences by their fans in Euro 2016 qualifying, the instructions from both benches echoed around the eerily empty ground in a tepid first half at the Rijeka stadium.

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Expanding on the thinking behind the change, Southgate added: "I don't think you should be rigid and say that's what we're doing and stick with it regardless". We dictated the flow for a long period and the second-half performance was excellent, pushing right to the end.

England started to dominate play and Rashford should have put the visitors ahead after 55 minutes, but the flimsy finish with which he greeted an inviting Kyle Walker ball into the box left Dominik Livakovic with a comfortable save.

"Now, I think some of those players are a bit more established".

"It wasn't an easy pitch, either, especially in the final third with people slipping and the ball bouncing up at the wrong moment. I don't know who it is good for".

After 77 minutes, Jadon Sancho made his England debut, coming on for Sterling, and another change followed as Marko Livaja replaced Rebic for the home side. So there were lots of encouraging things. We're disappointed not to have won but I have to focus on the way we played. "And tonight we played well".

Luckily there will be plenty of support and noise when England take on Spain during Monday's clash at the Benito Villamarin Stadium.

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