England supporters wave flags at the start of the UEFA Nations League match between England and Croatia at Wembley in 2018
Credit: Rui Vieira /AP
England will begin their delayed Euro 2020 campaign with a rematch of the 2018 World Cup semi-final against Croatia at Wembley. Gareth Southgate’s men lost that match in heart-breaking fashion with Mario Mandzukic scoring in extra time, despite England going 1-0 up.
It is not the first time Croatia have been a painful thorn in the side of England. Croatia prevented England from qualifying for Euro 2008, after a disastrous campaign under Steve McClaren culminated in a 3-2 loss.
Since that fateful summer night in Russia three years ago, the two countries have met twice in the Uefa Nations League, again in 2018. They drew 0-0 Rijeka before England scored some semblance of revenge with a 2-1 win at Wembley. Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane both scored in the final 15 minutes to pull off the comeback.
It is hoped that there will be some fans in attendance at Wembley, as test events in the FA Cup will determine the feasibility of hosting fans at this summer’s tournament. Boris Johnson has suggested he would like to see Wembley full "to capacity" for the final on July 11.
When is England vs Croatia?
England face Croatia on Sunday, June 13.
What time is kick-off on Sunday?
England vs Croatia will start at 2pm BST.
What TV channel is it on?
England vs Croatia will be broadcast on BBC1, with BBC and ITV sharing the rights.
Read more: Euro 2020 TV channel schedule for watching every match live
England’s Euro 2021 full fixtures
- Sunday June 13…England vs Croatia…Wembley…BBC1…KO 2pm
- Friday June 18…England vs Scotland…Wembley…ITV…KO 8pm
- Tuesday June 22…England vs Czech Republic…Wembley…ITV…KO 8pm
Read more: Full Euro 2021 fixtures list and England fixtures
What is the team news?
Brighton defender Ben White has been added to England’s Euros squad.
The 23-year-old was selected by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was forced to withdraw from the 26-man party due to injury.
White made his debut in last week’s 1-0 friendly win over Austria and impressed as he started alongside Tyrone Mings in Sunday’s victory against Romania.
Alexander-Arnold was ruled out after suffering a thigh injury late on against Austria and Southgate took his time to decide which of his standby players would come in.
Everton defender Ben Godfrey and Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse were other options who both started the Romania game, while Jesse Lingard and Ollie Watkins were also on the standby list, but will now return home.
What are Croatia saying?
Croatia’s Bruno Petkovic has declared his ambition to recreate his "most beautiful" moment this Sunday – by inflicting fresh misery on England’s Harry Kane.
Petkovic featured in the Dinamo Zagreb frontline that secured a 3-0 second leg victory that dumped Kane’s Tottenham out of the Europa League in March.
A season low-point for Spurs marked the beginning of the end for Jose Mourinho and left Kane planning his future away from his boyhood club.
Now Petkovic is hopeful that Dinamo’s stunning win can inspire a carbon copy during Croatia’s opening Euro 2021 Group D clash at Wembley on Sunday.
"I’d love to get one over Harry again, it’d be great if we could pull it off at national team level, too," said the 26-year-old striker who rated the match in March as "the most beautiful" of his career.
Kane, the England captain, has missed a string of chances in that game, and Petkovic, speaking in Croatia’s coastal training base of Rovinj, added: "I have very fond memories of that night as it was one of the brightest moments of my club career."
Petkovic has big boots to fill after Mario Mandzukic retired from international football following Croatia’s runners-up finish in the 2018 World Cup. Criticised by domestic pundits for a series of goal-shy appearances, Petkovic says he is unfazed. "I’ve had a barren run but I believe that I am capable of playing well at Euro 2020," he added.
"A responsibility rests on my shoulders of course but turning that into relentless pressure or stage fright will do no good. We are aware of England’s roster and that every player on their team has a worthy substitute as they all play at top European clubs… We are not focusing on any individual in particular as England have a squad full of outstanding players but we’re also confident in our own ability."
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What are the latest odds?
- England to win: 5/6
- Croatia to win: 16/5
- Draw: 5/2
- All odds via oddschecker.
View the latest Euro 2021 betting offers
What’s our prediction?
England will still be carrying the emotional scars of 2018, but this is a very different Croatia side than the one that vanquished them on that fateful night. Modric, Rakitic, Perisic et al are all now into their mid-30s. Meanwhile, England’s midfield has been refreshed with sparkling young talent, with the likes of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham ready to announce themselves on the international stage. In Russia, fatigue cost England and Croatia were able to outlast them. This time, they should have the legs to exact revenge.
Predicted score: England 3 Croatia 1
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