England vs Croatia preview

06-13-2021

England face Croatia in UEFA EURO 2020 Group D – all you need to know

Fate has brought these teams together in several big games over recent years, none bigger than the 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-final when Croatia came from behind to win 2-1 in extra time. But hopes are high for England, who could be playing the first of six games at Wembley in these finals if everything goes to plan.

 

Possible line-ups

England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Mings, Chilwell; Phillips, Rice; Sterling, Mount, Foden; Kane

Croatia: Livaković; Vrsaljko, Ćaleta-Car, Vida, Gvardiol; Brozović; Kramarić, Modrić, Kovačić, Perišić; Rebić

 

Reporters’ views

Simon Hart, England reporter: For England, two encounters with Croatia remain fresh in the mind. One ended in FIFA World Cup heartbreak, the other with Wembley bouncing after a UEFA Nations League comeback success. Yet this is all about a new adventure. The mood at St George’s Park has been relaxed but as the anticipation builds, so too the questions. Which of Gareth Southgate’s exciting youngsters will get the nod? How will he organise his defence without Harry Maguire? And then there’s the biggest question of all: can a squad so rich in attacking promise take us on a thrill ride to match EURO ’96?

Elvir  Islamović, Croatia reporter: Everybody in the Croatia camp is telling me that England are the favourites, but also that Croatia have cause to hope. Luka Modrić told me his side like games like this, where they’re up against the best. This game won’t be like the 2018 World Cup semi between these sides: it will be more difficult for Croatia. Their tactics will be clear: a solid block in defence and powerful thrusts on the counterattack. Will that be enough?

What the coaches say

Gareth Southgate, England manager: “We obviously had the disappointment in Moscow. We’ve had two very close games since then. They are a very experienced team, with outstanding players, great mentality, incredible spirit and tactically adaptable, so they really are a big challenge for us for our first game. But we know that we have been able to beat them.”

Zlatko Dalić, Croatia coach: “We will pick the best team we can for this match, we have quality players and we are not afraid. We know that England are very fast, very aggressive in attack, they have top players. We will need to respond with a solid block, but also will look out for possession and try to attack, as only defending will not bring us any good.”

 

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