Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has 'enormous respect' for Gareth Southgate's side

Nov 18, 2018, 02:18
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has 'enormous respect' for Gareth Southgate's side

"I'd love to see England and Croatia draw so we could play in the final four (of the Nations League), but our goal is the European Championship and to qualify for the tournament with a group of young players".

At first the midfielder was considered a doubt for the match against England but it's been decided by the player, Croatia and FC Barcelona that it'd be best for him to return to Barcelona so he can undergo tests.

Sports Mole looks at how England could line up for their winner-takes-all UEFA Nations League showdown with Croatia at Wembley.

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Ivan Rakitic has been sent back to Barcelona after suffering a hamstring in the second half of the win over Spain - so Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic is set to come into the line-up.

The World Cup finalists endured a miserable start to their Group 4 campaign in League A - thrashed by Spain in the reverse fixture and drawing with England - but they now head to Wembley in contention for a Finals place after an incredible finish in Zagreb. I think there's been periods in both of those matches where each team has the upper hand.

Sergio Busquests spoke to TV station TDP after Spain's 3-2 away defeat to Croatia in the Nations League, their second loss in a row under Luis Enrique.

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Barcelona's boss Ernesto Valverde nor Croatian manager Zlatko Dalic are willing to rest the midfielder. "We knew that Stones was their most important player in terms of playing out". At Barca there are plays that are rehearsed and trained and I could see that England also had those plays very well-worked.

"At the moment, Croatia have that advantage that they beat us in extra-time in the semi-final". That's why there was a little bit of a comedown.

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