Closed Doors Clash For England

England's away game against Croatia in the European Nations League will be played without spectators admitted.

Uefa have decreed that the fixture, set for 12 October, will be played behind closed doors as part of a punishment that Croatia received after a swastika was marked on the pitch in Split before a Euro 2016 qualifier.

As one of the teams in League A of the new competition, England will play home-and-away fixtures against Croatia and Spain across the international dates scheduled for September, October and November 2018.

Finish top of Group 4 and England will meet the other League A group winners in a finals tournament in June 2019.

End up bottom and it means ‘relegation’ to League B for the next staging of the competition.

Traditional qualifying for the European Championships in 2020 will be held between March and November 2019 with the top two in each of the ten groups going through.

Four places have been held back for teams who do not qualify but who do well in the Nations League, perhaps better explained by UEFA and their official guide.

For England, whose participation in Euro 2020 (the semi-final and final of which will be played at Wembley) should not be in serious doubt, the Nations League will hopefully provide a tougher Autumn test than either routine qualifiers or friendly fixtures.

Gareth Southgate told the FA website: "As we saw in November [against Germany and Brazil], everybody's approach showed a lot of enthusiasm and the excitement levels are much higher.

"That's what you need to make international football meaningful and we like the concept of less friendlies and games against high-level teams."


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