England vs Croatia : In July, England and Croatia met in Moscow with a 2018 FIFA World Cupfinal spot on the line. On Sunday they meet again, and this time, the winner will claim a place in the UEFA Nations League final four.
Gareth Southgate’s men will be hoping they are the team celebrating come the final whistle at Wembley Stadium, having lost 2-1 to Croatia after extra time at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Adding a further frisson, defeat on Sunday for England or Croatia would mean relegation to League B of the Nations League.
Date: Sunday, November 18
Time: 2 p.m. GMT, 9 a.m. ET
Live Stream: Sky Go, Univision NOW
Match Odds: England 17-20, Croatia 10-3, Draw 29-10 (via Oddschecker)
Spain will be hoping for a draw at Wembley, a result that would see La Roja advance to the finals as Group A4 winners.
However, a stalemate would mean relegation for one of England or Croatia. If it is a scoreless draw, England survive.
Both sides will surely be playing to win after Croatia’s last-gasp victory over Spain on Thursday effectively turned Sunday’s match into a Nations League quarter-final.
The widespread hope will be that the match provides more entertainment than the reverse fixture back in October, when the two teams played out a 0-0 draw behind closed doors in Rijeka. The intensity should be higher, not least because Wembley will be packed to the rafters.
England’s home advantage could prove telling, and it is one of the key reasons they are favourites with the bookies.
Another potential difference-maker is the absence of Ivan Rakitic, Croatia and Barcelona’s superb central midfielder, who has been ruled out through injury:View image on Twitter
The Three Lions go into the clash on the back of successive victories against Spain and the United States.
Croatia have also won their past two matches, a 2-1 friendly defeat of Jordan preceding their impressive 3-2 win against Spain.
As was evident at the World Cup, when Croatia came from behind to beat England in extra time, the two sides are well matched.
Given what is at stake, it is likely to be a cagey occasion at Wembley, especially in the opening minutes.And it is the early phases that could make the difference. If Croatia come out of the blocks fast, they may be able to silence the home crowd, which could be crucial.
But if England go ahead early, it will be difficult for the visitors to repeat the trick they pulled off in Russia of turning the match around.