TheFA.com casts an eye back to the last, and to date only, time England have met
TheFA.com casts an eye back to the last, and to date only, time England have met Croatia. In a friendly match at Wembley, Terry Venables' side secured a 0-0 draw in their Euro 96 preperations...
England 0-0 Croatia
Empire Stadium, Wembley
24 April 1996
No goals but something of a moral victory over excellent opponents who had become many people's 'dark horses' for Euro 96.
England coped well, showing that they could live with some of the best technical quality in Europe and after a while they finally showed enough patience and stamina to gain the upper hand over their illustrious visitors.
Indeed, Venables' side would have won but for five missed chances and it was the Three Lions' wasteful finishing that was the main concern for the manager.
A new style defence, with Mark Wright flanked by young Gary Neville and the somewhat older Stuart Pearce held firm throughout and Gascoigne, fortunately, was in the right sort of mood to charge at a retreating Croat defence.
Chances came and went at regular intervals. Steve Stone timed his run perfectly to collect Fowler's inviting pass but made a mess of his shot from six yards.
The Forest winger then released Neville down the right and captain David Platt, starting his first international of the season after injury, darted between defenders to power in a header but Mrmic beat the ball away.
Robbie Fowler, compared favourably with Lineker after Liverpool season full of lethal marksmanship, failed with a weak header from Stone's cross and then - with the Croats' willpower drainign away in the second period - missed by a distance when clubmate McManaman set up a straightforward chance from six yards.
Macca himself struck a post with ten minutes to go, with Sheringham off target from the rebound.
England: Seaman; Neville G., Pearce, Wright; McManaman, Ince, Platt, Gascoigne, Stone; Sheringham, Fowler
Croatia: Mrmic; Pavlicic (Mladenovic), Jarni, Stimac (Soldo), Jerkan, Bilic, Asanovic, Prosinecki, Suker, Boban (Stanic), Boksic (Pamic)
Referee: Z. Przesmycki
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