Southgate rallies England ahead of Nations League decider

England UEFA Nations League 2018

Busquets: "Spain have been the best side the group"

The Three Lions boss also dismissed talk that Croatia's exertions during Thursday's 3-2 win against Spain could be an advantage.

Just 130 days after breaking English hearts in Moscow, Zlatko Dalic's men arrive at Wembley for a winner-takes-all clash that will send the victor through to the inaugural Finals next summer. "In the second half we deserved a lot more, we certainly didn't deserve defeat but this is football and we need to accept it".

"In a unusual way, the game against Spain will give them more confidence than the World Cup, because it's a massive result to win away in Spain", he added.

"We've obviously played them twice in the last few months and we know their style of play, we know their preferences, the areas that they build up", Southgate said, having overseen a 0-0 draw behind closed door in Rijeka last month.

But Jedvaj's late victor now means victory at Wembley over England, who they beat 2-1 in the World Cup semifinals, would put them in the final phase.

"The most important thing for us was not to let them play out [from defence] comfortably", he added.

The World Cup finalists go into their final group stage match of the Nations League with everything to play for. They've already done that in getting to a semi-final but they can't sit there and say we were the team along with 1990 who got to the semi-final.

Both in attack and defense, the team was playing well again.

"It is unprecedented that you come off the back of a major tournament and have so many strong tests in such a short period". "The group was very hard, with two of the best national teams in the world".

Rakitic is now ruled out of England vs Croatia and will fly back to Barcelona instead.

"We've wanted to keep improving and I think the players have shown that mentality as well".

"It's been really good for us as a way of learning and improving with and without the ball and gaining some belief".

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