Croatia hold wasteful England in empty stadium

John Stones and Gareth Southgate on the pitch

John Stones is still upset by the World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia Credit Getty Images

In front of an empty stadium, England squandered a number of clear openings to miss the opportunity to notch their first UEFA Nations League win.

"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".

Croatia were unsuccessful in their quest to win the World Cup, losing to France in the Final.

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 is not like us not to be able to score two matches in a row", he said. It's sad the second and fourth team from the World Cup are playing behind closed doors.

Eric Dier also hit the post and he only had words of praise for Sancho after the game.

"We don't want to overburden players".

Ante Rebic clipped the roof of the net with an attempted chip from outside of the box, while Ivan Perisic's shot from 15 yards was blocked by Dier. "The second-half performance was excellent, we were pushing and pushing right to the end and on another day we would finish those chances".

Going into a match with a four-man defence for the first time in a year, which Gareth Southgate hoped would lead to more possession for his side, England offered far more in the early stages of the second period. "Harry will get us goals".

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.

Sancho enjoyed a couple of bright moments during his short time on the field, but he could not mark his debut with a telling contribution as the match petered out to its conclusion.

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