UEFA Nations League: 5 things we learnt from Croatia vs England
We've all finally got our heads around the Nations League, and were looking forward to seeing how England would fair against Croatia. Impressive in the World Cup, the Croatians played some of the most entertaining football and knocked out England in the semi-final stage.
Things haven't gone to plan since Russia though, losing 6-0 against a convincing Spain in September. The first task for Croatia; concede fewer goals than the Spain match. You can't blame them for being cagey and maybe not having a crowd present played more of a role than people would have thought
So, it finished 0-0 and you may have been excused if you found yourself napping halfway through as the game itself (especially the first half) failed to entertain. It never got out of third gear and felt like a training excercise, mainly due to the eerie silence from the absence of a crowd. However, the game did provide a few talking points and here are the five things we learned from the 0-0 draw.
#1 England need to be playing three at the back
Interestingly enough, Southgate opted for a 4-4-2 formation and Kyle Walker was playing as a right back, instead of the right center back position he held in Russia. The option to have three at the back was there as both Alexander-Arnold and Trippier were on the bench and many expected this to be the formation opted for by Southgate.
Attacking from wide areas was the job of Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling and both failed to make any impact from wide. At the other end, four at the back seemed to stifle any potential building blocks and England fell back into a familiar way of slow, uninventive football fuelled by sideways passing.