England's Next Game Against Croatia Won't Have Any Fans In Attendance

England won't have to wait too long to try and avenge their World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia but it will come under rather unusual circumstances.

Gareth Southgate's side took the lead through Kieran Trippier's stunning fifth minute free-kick but Ivan Perisic levelled matters in the 68th minute, before Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic popped up with the winner in extra time - ending England's World Cup dream and sending Croatia into their first ever World Cup final.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Croatia will now play France, in a repeat of the memorable 1998 semi-final, in Moscow, meaning Zlatko Dalić's side could well be world champions by the time they come up against England in three months time.

With the sides in the same group, a UEFA Nations League game on Croatia's turf (Rijeka's Rujevica Stadium) has been pencilled in for October 12 but will be played behind closed doors.

As noted by Mark Ogden from ESPN, it all dates back to the World Cup finalists being hit with a UEFA charge back in 2015 when a swastika symbol was marked out the pitch before the Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy - as if it had been burnt into the surface.

"This is sabotage and a felony," was the official statement from Tomislav Pacak, a spokesman for the Croatian Football Federation.

"We expect police to identify the perpetrators. This is a disgrace not just for the HNS but for the whole of Croatia."

That particular game, which finished 1-1, was played in Split at the Stadion Poljud and led to Croatia being deducted a point in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, as well as receiving with a two-game ban.

One game behind closed doors has already been played against Bulgaria but the clash with England will be their next competitive home game played under UEFA's watch and the ban will therefore carry over.

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He loves a Meatball Marinara from Subway on a Friday.

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