WATCH: All Goals And Video Highlights From England Vs Croatia FIFA World Cup 2018 Semi Final

Croatia and England drew on Friday night in a behind-closed-doors match in the Uefa Nations League, with Gareth Southgate’s side failing to fully bounce back from their opening round defeat against Spain.

Croatia, who beat England 2-1 in the World Cup semi-finals in the summer, lost 6-0 in their opening group game against the Spanish, and as if their task wasn’t hard enough, they played the match in front of an empty Stadion HNK Rijeka because of a two-match Uefa ban dating back to 2015, handed out because of a swastika being marked on the pitch before a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy.

England also lost to Spain in their Nations League opener, suffering a 2-1 defeat at Wembley in September, meaning this match had big ramifications for both teams in Group D, not just in hunting down Spain but also in avoiding relegation from the group, and the contest didn't really live up to its billing with a disappointing draw.

> >2018-10-12T15:31:42.483Z
Good evening and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of the Uefa Nations League encounter between

Croatia and

England, brought to you from the Stadion HNK Rijeka.

With the action getting underway at 7.45pm BST, we'll kick-off our in-depth build-up from 6.30pm. But until then, you can preview the match with the latest from Croatia, where Jack Pitt-Brooke has got his hands on the England team and a rather interesting switch of formation from England manager Gareth Southgate.


Gareth Southgate to abandon year-long experiment with back three



Gareth Southgate has confirmed the formation switch, naming his starting lineup for tonight's fixture.

Ben Chilwell makes his first England start on the left of a back-four, while Ross Barkley is deployed from the start on his return to the squad in midfield. 




Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic named his side ahead of the game. The hosts line-up looks like this: Dominik Livakovic; Tin Jedvaj, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Josip Pivaric; Mateo Kovacic, Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric; Ivan Perisic, Ante Rebic, Andrej Kramaric.


A unique setting for this UEFA Nations League fixture, with the game to be played at the Stadion HNK in Rijeka behind closed doors due to the ill behaviour of a group of Croatia fans in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy. 

Nevertheless, plenty of England fans have made the trip to the Adriatic coast to watch the game on TV locally, or attempt to find a vantage point to peer into the stadium.


The official team sheet circulated at the ground in Rijeka displays the England lineup as a 3-5-2 with Raheem Sterling at right wing-back but Gareth Southgate has confirmed the team will be arranged as a 4-3-3.

45 minutes until kick-off.

Both sides are played one, lost one in Group A4 of the UEFA Nations League, and thus this is a crucial game with Spain looking dominant at the top of the group. 

An away win for England would be a huge step towards avoiding relegation from the top tier of the Nations League, for whatever that is worth. Gareth Southgate believes it counts for little in the long run.

The England manager says there are other priorities:


Uefa Nations League relegation holds no fears for Gareth Southgate as he ramps up England's youth movement


"I know, Ross, it's just like playing at the Etihad..."


You wonder to what extent that semi-final defeat influenced Gareth Southgate's formation switch. On paper this England team should be able to combat the hosts' star-studded midfield more effectively tonight.

Croatia have lost experienced campaigners Mario Mandzukic and Danijel Subasic since that game. The latter's retirement has opened the door for Dinamo Zagreb shot-stopper Dominik Livakovic who wins his second cap in goal. 

Ten minutes until the game gets underway in Rijeka. 


Referee Dr. Felix Brych leads the players on to the pitch to the faintest strain of applause.

The German is a lawyer when he doesn't have whistle in hand...

KICK OFF >2018-10-12T18:47:01.083Z

0-0, 0 minutes

Kick-off in the most bizarre of settings. The game is underway in Rijeka.


0-0, 1 minute

England in a 4-3-3, Croatia starting with a 4-2-3-1 with Luka Modric ahead of Mateo Kovacic and Ivan Rakitic in a central area.


0-0, 3 minutes

An early touch for Marcus Rashford on the left, working the ball back to Ross Barkley on the left of England's midfield three.

Jordan Henderson's pass for Raheem Sterling is cut out.


0-0, 4 minutes

Tin Jedvaj tires to find a pass of incision but misplaces it, and England can clear.


0-0, 5 minutes

Harry Maguire reads Mateo Kovacic's through ball superbly to cut out.

The Chelsea midfielder had pivoted well between a couple of England players in midfield. He's started his loan spell well in London.

YELLOW CARD >2018-10-12T18:53:37.216Z

0-0, 6 minutes

An early booking. 


Jordan Henderson will miss England's game with Spain after a light drag-back on Ivan Rakitic.  >2018-10-12T18:56:44.286Z

0-0, 7 minutes

A little bit bobbly, the pitch in Rijeka.

Paul Robinson and Gary Neville won't have fond memories of Croatian pitches...


0-0, 10 minutes

Ben Chilwell leaps and heads away an Ivan Rakitic diagonal.


0-0, 11 minutes

Eric Dier doing what he used to so excellently at Spurs, dropping in between England's centre-halves to receive the ball.


0-0, 12 minutes

A lovely low cross from Ben Chilwell is destined for Raheem Sterling but Josip Pivaric recovers phenomenally to intervene and prevent an almost certain goal.

Good start from England's inexperienced left-back.

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What time does it start?

Croatia vs England kicks off at 7:45pm (BST).

Where can I watch it?

The match will be shown live on Sky Sports’ Main Event channel from 7:00pm.

Highlights will be shown at 10:45pm on ITV.

It’s a big game for…

Jadon Sancho: All the hype in the build-up to this match has been about the in-form Borussia Dortmund youngster Jadon Sancho. At 18-years-old, Sancho is the first player born in this century to have been called up to the England squad. After leaving Manchester City for the German club last summer, Sancho has broken into the first-team this season, and has recorded an impressive nine assists so far this season – the most of any English player.

Best stat…

241: In the 2018 World Cup semi-final clash in July, Croatia’s midfield trio of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic played a combined total of 241 passes, compared to just 131 for England’s central midfielders.

Remember when…

Croatia’s win over England in the semi-finals of this year’s World Cup was the biggest match both teams had played for 20 years. Kieran Trippier’s stunning free-kick gave England the lead, and they could have had the game won as Harry Kane and Jesse Lingard missed good chances in the first-half. In the second-half, Croatia upped their level, equalising through Ivan Perisic before Mario Mandzukic’s extra-time strike sent Croatia to their first ever World Cup final.



Player to watch…

Luka Modric: Croatia’s captain will start on Friday night, and will be his country’s focal point once again. The 33-year-old, who was named The Best FIFA Men’s Player last month, has been in sparkling form for club and country all year, and can dominate matches on his own. Paired up with Ivan Rakitic in central midfield, the duo will need to be contained by England better than in the latter stages of the World Cup semi-final three months ago.

Past three-meetings…

Croatia 2 (Perisic, Mandzukic) England 1 (Trippier), 2018 World Cup, July 2018

England 5 (Lampard 2, Gerrard 2, Rooney) Croatia 1 (Eduardo), 2010 World Cup Qualification, September 2009

Croatia 1 (Mandzukic) England 4 (Walcott 3, Rooney), 2010 World Cup Qualification, September 2008

Form guide…

Croatia: DDWLDL

England: DWLLLW


Croatia to win: 17/10

England to win: 9/5

Draw: 2/1

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Source :

Croatia vs England: Nations League tie ends goalless
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