As it happenedended1542559891

England turn match on its head to relegate Croatia and win their Nations League group

Harry Latham-Coyle
Sunday 18 November 2018 13:10
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UEFA Nations League: How does the competition work?

Harry Kane ensured a year to cherish would end with a bang as England came from behind against World Cup semi-final foes Croatia to reach the inaugural Nations League Finals.

Just 130 days after breaking English hearts in Moscow, Zlatko Dalic's men looked set to prove the scourge of the Three Lions once more as Andrej Kramaric's deflected effort left them staring down the barrel of relegation.

But a stirring comeback from Gareth Southgate's side brought a memorable year to a fitting conclusion, with substitute Jesse Lingard scoring and clearing off the line before captain Kane secured a late 2-1 win which sees them top Group A4 ahead of Spain.

Baddiel & Skinner's 'Three Lions (Football's Coming Home)' rang around Wembley after a victory that condemned Croatia to relegation - the icing on the cake as England brought down the curtain on a year which saw them re-engage with the public and restore pride.

PA

Match preview

What time does it start?

England vs Croatia kicks off at 2:00pm (GMT) on Sunday 18th November.

Where can I watch it?

England vs Croatia will be shown live on Sky Sports’ Main Event and Football channels from 1:00pm (GMT).

Highlights will be on ITV at 11:10pm (GMT) on Sunday 18th November.

Player to watch…

Raheem Sterling: After failing to score in three years for England, Raheem Sterling’s double against Spain last month showed a player on the top of his game for both club and country. The 23-year-old has scored seven goals in 15 appearances for Manchester City this season, and will likely play alongside Harry Kane up front for this group decider after being rested for the 3-0 friendly win against USA.

Form guide…

England: LLWDWW

Croatia: LDLDWW

Odds…

England to win: 19/20

Croatia to win: 3/1

Draw: 12/5

(Odds provided by 888 Sport)

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It's England vs Croatia and the Nations League A Group 4 decider! Team news coming right up, but first here's a little pre-match reading: 

Lawrence Ostlere18 November 2018 12:27
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Good afternoon all, and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of England's crucial clash with Croatia at Wembley Stadium.

It is winner takes all this afternoon - both England and Croatia would win the group with victory, while the loser would be relegated to the second tier of the Nations League.

A score draw would also send England down and see Spain top the group, while a goalless affair would relegate Croatia.

Plenty to discuss ahead of the two o'clock kick-off, so let's get right to it...

Harry Latham-Coyle18 November 2018 12:34
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TEAM NEWS

England have named their team.

Just three players retain their place from Thursday's friendly win over the USA, with regular starters Ben Chilwell and Jordan Pickford remaining at left-back and in goal respectively, while Fabian Delph earns another opportunity in midfield, too.

Harry Latham-Coyle18 November 2018 12:41
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  ↵Still waiting for Croatia to confirm their lineup, though we know they will be without Ivan Rakitic in midfield.

Croatia's pressing game was out in full force in their impressive 3-2 victory over Spain on Thursday night, and Jonathan Liew suggests how England counter that press will be key if Gareth Southgate's side are to secure a home win and cement this as a modern-day sporting rivalry.

Harry Latham-Coyle18 November 2018 12:46
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TEAM NEWS

Croatia have now named their starting XI.

Kalinic; Vrsaljko, Vida, Lovren, Jedvaj; Modric, Brozovic, Vlasic; Rebic, Perisic, Kramaric

Harry Latham-Coyle18 November 2018 12:52
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That looks like a 4-2-3-1 for Croatia. Luka Modric often plays in a more advanced midfield role but will likely slip in alongside Marcelo Brozovic in midfield cohort Ivan Rakitic's abscence, with Everton's promising midfielder Nikola Vlasic (currently on loan at CSKA Moscow) ahead of them.

Presumably England will stick with the 4-3-3 that has brought them success recently. Fabian Delph gives them a left-footed presence in midfield, which looks to have better balance than when Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier are deployed in tandem.

Harry Latham-Coyle18 November 2018 13:04
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The atmosphere is beginning to build around Wembley as fans make their way into the ground.

The last time Croatia visited England secured qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in convincing fashion, but it is the infamous 2007 meeting fans may remember better...

Harry Latham-Coyle18 November 2018 13:10
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Yes, who can forget Steve McClaren, the 'Wally with a Brolly', downcast as England slipped to an embarrassing 3-2 defeat and missed out on Euro 2008.

Scott Carson's let Nico Kranjcar's tame effort through him into the net to allow Croatia to jump into a 2-0 lead, before Mladen Petric sealed victory for the visitors with about 15 minutes to go after England fought back to level.

One of English football's darkest days...

Harry Latham-Coyle18 November 2018 13:16
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Luka Modric started that game for Croatia, and he will hope to captain his team to another Wembley victory this afternoon.

About 40 minutes until kick-off...

Harry Latham-Coyle18 November 2018 13:21
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England will be looking to avenge not only that ignominious evening, but their World Cup exit, too.

Harry Kane is confident, and says that England are already a better team than they were in Russia:

Harry Latham-Coyle18 November 2018 13:26

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