Gareth Southgate says England playing four-man defence a positive

13 October, 2018, 19:21 | Author: Suzanne Horton
  • Luka Modric

"Football without fans is nothing", Celtic's European Cup-winning manager Jock Stein famously opined many years ago.

Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal to end England's World Cup dream in Moscow, but without the Juventus striker, who has since retired from worldwide football, Croatia lacked a focal point up front.

However, amid the eeriness of hearing players shake hands before kick-off and shout instructions during the game, the question was raised whether the punishment fits the crime. "We were compact and aggressive, better than in last match", said Dalic.

Just 93 days after the Three Lions lost to Zlatko Dalic's men in the World Cup semi-finals, the countries met in surroundings that could scarcely have been more different to July's huge encounter at the packed Luzhniki.

Kane saw an effort ruled out for offside and seemingly broke the net in the process, leading to a pause in play that saw England fans get a wave from Pickford. "I don't know who it is good for".

His side may not have been at their best but 2018 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball victor Modric was still at the centre of everything good about Croatia.


"The fact is that Modric is the best player in the world officially now and we just lacked that composure, the guile and that know-how that I think a couple of that Croatia team have in [Mario] Mandzukic, [Ivan] Rakitic, [Luka] Modric and [Ivan] Perisic - they've played in Champions League finals and been around the block in the highest quality games and that's what England are just lacking at the moment", Neville told Sky Sports.

Reversing fixtures so the perpetrators are punished with losing home advantage or even moving games to a neutral venue have been offered as alternative solutions.

"Knowing they're all sequestered in awful pubs over a thousand miles away, unable to call any of us a w***er to our faces, is an unbelievable feeling".

"We created some good chances but also were lucky with them hitting woodwork twice".

On the same day supporters were shut out in Croatia, the Premier League revealed their TV schedule for the Christmas and New Year period that will see only four days without a match in the fortnight between Dec 21 and Jan 3. "Around friendly matches we can be more sensible but it's hard around these games".

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