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Predicted England XI vs. Croatia: Harry Kane to return for Nations League decider

Predicted England XI vs. Croatia: Harry Kane to return for Nations League decider

Sports Mole looks at how England could line up for their winner-takes-all UEFA Nations League showdown with Croatia at Wembley.

Suddenly it has all got very interesting in the at-times maligned UEFA Nations League, with England hosting Croatia at Wembley on Sunday with all three teams from Group A4 still in with a chance to finishing top.

Croatia’s victory over Spain on Thursday night – while England were bidding farewell to Wayne Rooney with a 3-0 win over USA – means that just two points separate the three teams with only Sunday’s match remaining.

A win for England means that they will finish top and progress into the Finals, victory for Croatia will see them leapfrog both Spain and England to top spot, while a draw would result in Spain retaining their place at the summit despite back-to-back defeats.

There is another layer of intrigue when it comes to a draw, though, with a goalless stalemate seeing Croatia relegated on goal difference, but a score draw seeing England demoted due to an inferior head-to-head record.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how England could line up for the crunch match.


Gareth Southgate is expected to revert to his first-choice XI for this game, which will mean returns for captain Harry Kane – despite Callum Wilson‘s goalscoring debut – and Raheem Sterling in the front three.

Marcus Rashford may also come back into the side, although his Manchester United teammate Jesse Lingard provides stiff competition for the final place in that trio following his fine goal against the United States.

Dele Alli will hope to be one of few to retain their place from the USA game, although club form means that his spot in the midfield three looks the most vulnerable against Jordan Henderson and Ross Barkley. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the most likely alternative in the middle of the park.

It is likely to be all change at the back, with Trent Alexander-Arnold amongst those to make way despite scoring his first international goal on Thursday.

Kyle Walker looks a shoo-in at right-back following Kieran Trippier‘s withdrawal from the squad, while the absence of Harry Maguire should also pave the way for Joe Gomez to start alongside John Stones in the middle.

Wayne Rooney playing for England in November 2014

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