Croatia and England picked up a share of the spoils during their Nations League game at the Stadion HNK Rijeka on Friday night. The match was eagerly anticipated considering the free-flowing nature of the World Cup semi-final between the two during the summer but chances were very few and far between for either side. The visitors unquestionably had the best chances to find the scoresheet but Marcus Rashford was guilty of once more fluffing his lines in a Nations League game.
Two things we learned:
Marcus Rashford’s poor finishing: Rashford came for some criticism from the country’s faithful last month after he squandered a couple of chances in the 2-1 defeat to Spain. Likewise, the case was similar against Croatia where he was handed a couple of straightforward opportunites which came one after the other. On the first occasion, Rashford had a very tame effort after a sublime cross from Kyle Walker from out wide but the second could be excusable after he could not curl his attempt past the opposition goalkeeper. The same has been an underlying problem for the youngster at club level with Manchester United and he may need to revive his confidence sooner or else he may find himself starting from the bench.
Croatia redeem themselves with some luck: Croatia had a night to forget in their Nations League opener last month after they were annihilated by Spain, who beat them by an overwhelming 6-0 scoreline. Against England, the hosts were widely predicted to concede based on the feeble defensive record but they managed to keep a rare clean sheet after a better organisation at the back. Croatia made a couple of key interventions early on to prevent the Three Lions from scoring but they thereafter had the bout of luck with Rashford fluffing his lines while both Harry Kane and Eric Dier only managed to find the woodwork with their efforts. Croatia’s goalless stalemate was their first against England in 22 years. The 0-0 draw back in 1996 was the first occasion when the nations had met through an international friendly.
Image – Getty