Published: Mon, October 15, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Merle Christensen

No fans, no goals: Croatia and England's surreal encounter

No fans, no goals: Croatia and England's surreal encounter

Sancho got the same award at the European Under-17 championships past year, as well as being part of the squad that won the Under-17 World Cup, although his participation was limited after being recalled by Dortmund halfway through the tournament to play for the first team. "We dictated the flow of the game for a long period and the second half performance was excellent, pushing right to the end". "We've got different qualities".

Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho created a big impression in his 13-minute cameo in Croatia, but a squad that drew praise for its new-era inclusion of the 18-year-old, fellow teenager Mason Mount, and Leicester City's James Maddison is now also tempered by pragmatism and reality in Spain, although Tottenham's Harry Winks may get his chance.

"Last season would have been even better for both teams because of the talent that he is. So, it's a good challenge for us and an important challenge".

From the sound of the high fives of England's players echoing around the stadium before kick-off, to the distant voices of visiting supporters somewhere on a hill near the ground asking goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for a wave, this was a surreal evening on the Adriatic coast.

Rashford tried his luck from distance and Perisic stung the palms of Pickford when play resumed, before England struck the woodwork again.

Dejan Lovren was booked for a clumsy tackle on Sterling as the first half petered out, but a much brighter start to the second half nearly brought a goal for either side.

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He can look back on his night with pride in playing his part in a clean sheet and England's first point in this Nations League campaign.

Penalty claims were rejected as Ross Barkley, making his first England appearance in 868 days, went down in the box - and Stones' frustration at that decision resulted in a foul that brought a booking and suspension.

Enrique is wary of England's set-piece strength, adding: 'We must be vigilant and ensure that we generate the least possible occasions (for set-pieces)'.

Kramaric sliced wide before Croatia made the night's first change, Perisic making way for Marko Pjaca and the substitute nearly making an instant impact with an effort that curled wide. I followed him and I like the way he plays football.

Before kickoff, the thud of the ball was audible as players warmed up before the national anthems of both teams were met by just a ripple of applause from the dignitaries. "With us [Dortmund] he's doing really well".

"It's exciting for me to know that when he comes back in, he can take us forward even more".

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