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13th Jul 2018

England’s next game against Croatia will take place behind closed doors

The rematch is just three months away

Darragh Murphy

Gareth Southgate won’t have long to wait before he can attempt to avenge Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia.

A late Mario Mandzukic winner sent England out of the World Cup at the semi-final stage, meaning their last game in Russia will be a third-place play-off against Belgium on Saturday night.

The Three Lions surpassed most expectations at the World Cup and supporters remain excited about what the next couple of major tournaments holds for Southgate’s side.

England will look to dust themselves off as soon as they return home and they will only have three months to wait before their rematch with Croatia.

Southgate will take his team to Rijeka’s Rujevica Stadium on October 12 in the new Uefa Nations League but the game will be played behind closed doors as the Croatian Football Federation will finish off their two-match punishment from Uefa, according to ESPN’s Mark Ogden.

Croatia received the two-game stadium ban after an incident in 2015, when a swastika was marked on the pitch ahead of their Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy in Split.

The first half of the stadium ban was served when Croatia beat Bulgaria 3-0 in a behind-closed-doors game in October 2015 and England will share the pitch with the World Cup finalists at an empty ground in just a few months in the second game of Croatia’s punishment.