Why England v Croatia is biggest home game for years

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"I think it will be a fiery game against them - they know us and what they can expect from us, and we will not run away from that".

"It's a final against England, so of course we will be strong", he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

After playing in 70 matches during the 2017/18 season including those on worldwide duty and in the FIFA World Cup 2018, Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic was expected to have some rest, but it has looked like the 30-year-old and the word "rest" have become anonymous.

Disappointing performances in the UEFA Nations League have left "La Roja" under scrutiny after what had been a promising start under the new coach.

The World Cup finalists go into their final group stage match of the Nations League with everything to play for.

"People criticise me, but they didn't say much when England didn't score against us in the last game", he said.

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Both in attack and defense, the team was playing well again. "The group was very hard, with two of the best national teams in the world".

Given a draw favours Spain, Perisic expects an attacking game.

'It's been really good for us as a way of learning and improving what we do with and without the ball, gaining some belief, but also we have some new players who have emerged in that period as well. He has been gradually experimenting with youngsters.

Luis Enrique appeared resigned to his side not making it through, turning his attention to the qualifying campaign for Euro 2020.

Rakitic, who plays for Barcelona, came off in the 67th minute of the 3-2 home win over Spain on Thursday which gave Croatia the chance to top League A Group 4 and claim a place in next year's four-team finals.

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