The Three Lions host the Blazers in a decider game at Wembley on Sunday.
The second international break of the season saw many exciting fixtures in the UEFA Nations League as the competition has arrived at a much crucial juncture. The Netherlands turned out to be surprisingly victorious against the World Champions France. Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay’s strikes helped the Dutch win 2-0 at the De Kuip Stadium. On the other hand, World Cup finalists Croatia won 3-2 in a thrilling game against Spain when a last-gasp Tin Jedvaj winner earned them all three points at the Maksimir Stadium.
Likewise, England, too, went on to get an easy win against USA at the Wembley Stadium. Gareth Southgate fielded a much younger side with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Ben Chilwell and Trent Alexander-Arnold all finding a place in the starting lineup. The game also turned out to be a farewell for the retiring Wayne Rooney who received a Guard of Honour from both the teams. England won the game 3-0 with Alexander-Arnold, Callum Wilson and Jesse Lingard all finding the back of the net.
Next up for the Three Lions is Croatia, which will be a crucial fixture for both sides as the winner will make it to the semi-finals of the League. The fixture will also be seen as a replay of the World Cup 2018 semi-final which saw the Blazers get the better of England. With the game to be played at the iconic Wembley Stadium, Southgate’s side will look to avenge the World Cup loss as it will probably be the most awaited fixture of the international break.
However, Zlatko Dalic’s side would be a much tougher opponent than USA and Southgate must involve more experienced players this time. That being said, a poll was created by Football Fancast on who should be started at the left back position. Leicester City star Chilwell did pretty well during the last outing and looks in a good form. However, a majority of England fans chose to vote for Manchester United’s Luke Shaw instead. Shaw, too, has been in a fine form of late and comes with a much greater experience than Chilwell. As many as 69% of the fans voted for the Red Devils’ man to be picked up ahead of the 21-year-old youngster, at the left-back position.
According to both players’ stats in the Premier League, Shaw definitely has an upper hand over Chilwell. The 23-year-old has won 11 tackles in his 11 games, 3 more than the former Huddersfield Town loanee. In terms of team play too, Shaw has made 613 passes with an 84.5% success rate; much greater than Chilwell’s 549 passes with a 74.86% success rate.
Meanwhile, Ivan Rakitic is a major absentee for the Croats but Southgate cannot downplay them. Thus, the England boss has a vital role to play and must get his team selection right in order to reach the semi-finals of the League.