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England leave no stone unturned in preparation for behind-closed-doors match

England leave no stone unturned in preparation for behind-closed-doors match

Gareth Southgate’s squad will take on Croatia at an empty Stadion HNK Rijeka on Friday.

England’s players have been sent footage of last year’s clash between Barcelona and Las Palmas at a deserted Nou Camp ahead of playing Croatia in the Nations League behind closed doors.

Three months after meeting in the World Cup semi-finals in a packed Luzhniki Stadium, the surroundings for Friday’s encounter could scarcely be more different.

The Nations League match will be played behind closed doors at Stadion HNK Rijeka as Croatia complete a stadium ban imposed by UEFA for having a swastika on the pitch in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy.

England’s players have been sent footage of a match played at an empty Nou Camp (Nick Potts/PA).

It will make England’s first ever Nations League trip a rather peculiar occasion that the Football Association is trying to help the squad prepare for.

Southgate’s players have been sent video of last October’s LaLiga match between Barcelona and Las Palmas.

The game was played at an empty Nou Camp after a request to have the game postponed, amid widespread political unrest and violence in Catalonia, was turned down.

Friday's match between Croatia and England will be staged in rather different surroundings to their World Cup semi-final (Adam Davy/PA).
Friday’s match between Croatia and England will be staged in rather different surroundings to their World Cup semi-final (Adam Davy/PA).

Press Association Sport understands that the footage was sent to the squad as part of a wider brief aimed at preparing them for the unique nature of Friday’s encounter.

England land in Croatia on Thursday for the match in Rijeka and then head on to Seville at the weekend for Monday’s match against Spain.

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