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Gareth Southgate hands Ross Barkley a start in midfield against Croatia

It's either semi-finals or relegation at Wembley today

Who said the international break was boring?

After beating Spain 3-2, Croatia face England at Wembley today in an all or nothing game.

Gareth Southgate has rung the changes from Thursday, most noticeably handing in-form Ross Barkley a start in midfield.

The Chelsea player has sparkled under Maurizo Sarri this season scoring three goals and getting three assists in the league.

Jadon Sancho, who made his first England start against the USA, is back on the bench while Fabian Delph retains his place in midfield.

Jordan Henderson misses out in midfield as he suffers from a hamstring injury.

Leicester’s Ben Chilwell looks like he is becoming a regular for England at left-back while Joe Gomez gets another start under his belt.

Getty Images - Getty
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For *possibly* the first time ever both teams can either reach a semi-final or be relegated at Wembley today.

A win for England or Croatia and they will progress to the Nations League semis while a draw would see Spain progress.

It’s not quite a World Cup semi-final but there’s still plenty on the line.

It still hurts

Getty - Contributor
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It still hurts

After that fateful game in the summer, seeing Croatia being drawn in England’s group has seen them become international rivals once again.

The first game between these two was a dull 0-0 draw played out in front of an empty stadium in Rijeka but Wembley will be packed today.

And after humbling the USA 3-0 in an efficient if not spectacular display on Thursday, Southgate has lined up a full strength side for the Croats.

Ivan Rakitic, who caused Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier so much trouble in midfield in Russia, misses a rare game with a hamstring injury.

Eric Dier can sleep easy knowing Rakitic won’t be playing

Reuters
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Eric Dier can sleep easy knowing Rakitic won’t be playing

Mario Mandzukic has retired from international football but Ivan Perisic, who scored Croatia’s first goal in the semi-final, will be the man England have to contain down the left.


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