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'Three Lions' rue missing four golden opportunites

Pin Rashford should have scored twice in a matter of minutes. EFE
Rashford should have scored twice in a matter of minutes. EFE

'Three Lions' rue missing four golden opportunites

Simon Green by Simon Green @besoccer_com - 0 3,483

England played out a 0-0 draw away to Croatia, but had four excellent chances that they will feel should have been converted.

This match was always going to be a less intense encounter than when the sides last met, in the World Cup semi-finals in Russia some three months ago, and that was not helped by the stadium being empty because of Croatia serving a ban from admitting fans in to the ground from UEFA.

The lack of energy in the stadium transferred itself to the players, with neither side having much urgency to move the ball around in the opening moments.

The one time that England did zip the ball around almost resulted in a goal, when a quick move fed Ben Chilwell on the left flank, who squared the ball in ot the path of Sterling, with Lovren responding well to deny the winger a shot on goal.

A scrappy period then took hold for the majority of the rest of the first half, with the home side's best opportunity coming from a corner that was taken short, Modric then finding Perisic who had lost his marker at the edge of the box, but his drive was blocked.

Just before the teams were about to go in for the break, Eric Dier almost put the visitors in to the lead.

A corner swung in to the near post came to the Tottenham man, whose looping header hit the far post without any of the incoming England players able to get to the ball as it ricochted away from danger.

The second half was a slightly more interesting affair, with a Harry Kane header rattling the woodwork from a free-kick early on to suggest that England may be edging closer to opening the scoring.

Marcus Rashford had two golden opportunities to do just that within minutes of each other. The first came about thanks to a wonderful cross from the right from Walker, which left Rashford with only the keeper to beat in the box, however his left footed shot was nothing more than a pass in to the 'keeper's hands.

The second miss was just as unforgiving, as the Man Utd striker found himself in on goal again thanks to a Raheem Sterling pass, but his finish was easily read by Livakovic.

Croatia had a few of their own chances, potentially the best of which coming from Rebic who tried to bend one in to the far corner from the left side of the box, his effort just missing its target.

One definite positive for the 'Three Lions' was the introduction of 18 year-old wonderkid Jadon Sancho, who provided the team with a lot more attacking flair and showed that the senior international stage is definitely where he belongs, but even he couldn't find a goal as the match ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

The home side had a few chances, but while the defensive pairing of Lovren and Vydra were largely solid their midfield did not create as much as would be expected, leaving their chances of doing anything in the Nations League slim.

The bookings for Jordan Henderson and John Stones will mean they miss the vital clash away to Spain on Tuesday, but aside from that England should take positives from the game, having four excellent chances that on another day would have found the back of the net.


Simon Green

Simon Green

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