Gareth Southgate has warned against complacency after England were handed a promising draw for next summer’s Euro 2020 finals.
England will face Croatia and Czech Republic in Group D at Euro 2020. The Three Lions face a rematch of the 2018 World Cup semi-final begin their campaign against Croatia at Wembley on June 14.
Reacting to the draw, Southgate said: ‘I’m never sure whether it’s a good draw. We have played two of the teams before and for us to play at Wembley is something special.
“The two teams that we know, we have had really good results against them and poor results. So it’s not a group we can be complacent about. I think everyone will be looking at Group F and be pleased they’re not in it. But Croatia at Wembley is a brilliant opening game for the fans and the players.”
Croatia manager, Zlatko Dalic, insisted England will start as favourites against his side.“We are a new team compared to the World Cup,” he said.
“We won there but now it will be a much more difficult – they are a very strong team with a lot of young players, it will be a big chance for them to beat us in front of their people. I’m a little bit afraid about this game.”
However, Southgate has refused to dwell upon those comments, and has admitted England cannot afford to take any of their opponents lightly.
He added, “I’m sure he’s being tactically economical with the truth there,” he said.
“We’ve had three really tight games with them with very little between the teams all three times.
In their last game they left [Chelsea’s Mateo] Kovacic on the bench which tells you a little bit about the quality they have. There’s quite an interesting contrast really.”
“They have hugely experienced players right throughout the team who have played big matches, and we’re right at the other end of the scale: very young with a lot of energy but still learning and improving.”