download All Football App

Inside the 8,000-seat stadium where England will take on Croatia

  /  autty

England travel to Croatia for their second Nations League game on Friday night but, rather than the hostile atmosphere they may have expected, the game will be played in front of an empty stadium.

The ban on supporters attending the fixture in Rijeka is part of Croatia's punishment after a swastika was marked on their pitch before a Euro 2016 home qualifier against Italy.

Croatia served the first game of the suspension against Bulgaria in October 2015 but have not played any UEFA-sanctioned home games since then. It means Stadion HNK Rijeka will be a ghost town.

Opened on August 2, 2015 the stadium has become the short-term home of Croatian top-flight side HNK Rijeka during the construction of their new home Stadion Kantrida.

Once their new stadium is complete, Rijeka will continue to use the facility as their training ground and youth academy with four additional pitches on the site.

Boasting a rather intimate capacity of 8,279, the stadium actually had to be renovated in 2017 to add extra seats so the club could meet UEFA's minimum capacity requirements for the Champions League and Europa League.

After the opening of the new north stand in July 2017, a new stadium attendance record of 8,118 was quickly set when Rijeka played Austrian giants Red Bull Salzburg in a Champions League qualifier.

As well as Croatian club football, the stadium has also welcomed international fixtures twice before.

It played host to a friendly against San Marino in 2016 which the Croatians won by a staggering 10-0 scoreline. Finland were the latest visitors to the ground and came away with an admirable point in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017.

England are the next team to make the trip to the third-largest city in Croatia before the venue also plays host to Jordan in a friendly on October 15.

Related: CroatiaEngland