England play out stalemate with Croatia in Rijeka

John Stones and Gareth Southgate on the pitch

John Stones is still upset by the World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia Credit Getty Images

Going into a match with a four-man defence for the first time in a year, which Gareth Southgate hoped would lead to more possession for his side, England offered far more in the early stages of the second period. "We've got a good squad with young, hungry players who are ready to come in and make a difference".

"He buried that chance but was just offside, but Harry will get us goals", Southgate said.

Croatia followed orders by banning fans from its next qualifying contest against Bulgaria in October 2015, but it hasn't played a UEFA-sanctioned home match since.

"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.

Dier headed Jordan Henderson's corner off the post a minute before the break.

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.

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.

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The pair used to start together for England as the Three Lions fought for qualification to the World Cup but many fans often slated the option, with some feeling it is far too negative a pairing.

"It feels like a game we should have won", said England manager Gareth Southgate.

Kane is a natural goalscorer that may have seen his overall form and impact on games vary in recent months, but ultimately he will continue to get in the right areas to score. "We have to keep getting in those situations".

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.

As weird and boring as last night's behind-closed-doors UEFA Nations League game with Croatia was, at least we got to hear England players shouting throughout - which isn't something you can always say.

History boy Sancho showed flashes of excitement after his 78th-minute introduction, with his threatening late cross causing problems in a match that ended goalless. On another day, we will.

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