Croatia’s Modric says home crowds give England unfair advantage
‘Maguire ‘s Chances a Long Shot’
Croatia captain Luka Modric says England have an “unfair advantage” at Euro 2020 because all three of their Group D games are at Wembley Stadium, reports BBC.
The Three Lions host Croatia at the national stadium today in a rematch of the 2018 World Cup semi-final.
Wembley will also host England’s other two group games against Scotland on June 18 and the Czech Republic on June 22.
“Everyone would say teams at home with a crowd, that there is a slight advantage,” Modric told the BBC.
For the first two group matches, the capacity at Wembley will be 22,500. Wembley will also host two of the last-16 ties and both semifinals and the final.
Asked if he thought England had an unfair advantage in the tournament, Real Madrid midfielder Modric added: “I think so, yes.
“It’s a shame there won’t be a lot of Croatia supporters because we always feel their presence when they are there.
“But it is how it is. We need to focus on the pitch and don’t get bothered about the environment.”
Modric helped Croatia beat England 2-1 in Moscow three years ago to deny Gareth Southgate’s team a place in the Word Cup final.
Since then, the sides have met twice in the Nations League, with England winning 2-1 in November 2018 after the two sides had drawn 0-0 one month earlier.
Modric, 35, believes England are one of the favourites for Euro 2020.
“I rate them very highly,” he added. “For sure, they are one of the favourites for this tournament. That doesn’t mean we are not going there to try to play a great game and try to get a result.
“We have showed in the past we can do that and we know how to play against England. Hopefully we can show it again on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Harry Maguire’s involvement against Croatia might be a “long shot,” according to Gareth Southgate but the England manager has not ruled out the central defender just yet, reports www.yorkshirepost.co.uk.
Sheffield-born Maguire was a mainstay of that side but his place in the England backline has been in jeopardy since sustaining ankle ligament damage on May 9.
The 28-year-old sat out the rest of Manchester United’s season, including being an unused substitute for the Europa League final loss to Villarreal, and began training with the England squad on Thursday.
Maguire’s availability for Croatia looks doubtful, with Gareth Southgate telling ITV on Friday it is a “long shot but he is further ahead than we thought he might be at this point so we are certainly not going to rule it out.”
Jordan Henderson also trained with the group as he builds fitness, but goalkeeper Dean Henderson – set to be back-up to Jordan Pickford this summer – was not involved due to a knock.
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