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Only five of the team that started the World Cup semi-final are in the England XI today; they are also playing a different formation. Gareth Southgate’s restless development of the side is really interesting.
England (4-3-3) Pickford; Walker, Gomez, Stones, Chilwell; Barkley, Dier, Delph; Sterling, Kane, Rashford.
Substitutes: Butland, McCarthy, Alexander-Arnold, Lingard, Dunk, Keane, Sancho, Shaw, Winks, Alli, Loftus-Cheek, Wilson.
Don’t call it a payback. Nothing England achieve today will realistically assuage the everlasting pain and regret of their World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia. But victory would still be pretty sweet. This game has plenty of edge, as much because of the old testosterone as the new Nations League.
An England win would satisfy the competitive urges that have surely been stimulated by the increasing needle between these two sides. And a place in the semi-finals would be a nice way to end the national team’s most exciting year since at least 2001. Those of use who smugly dismissed the Nations League as an abomination may yet be required to ingest humility in pie form.