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Petkovic: Croatia vs England opener will be less open than World Cup semi-final

  /  autty

Croatia striker Bruno Petkovic believes they have been paid more respect by England after being underestimated at the World Cup.

The fallout of 2018's semi-final was dominated by claims of English arrogance and the pair lock horns again in the Group D opener on Sunday.

Petkovic, expected to lead the line for Zlatko Dalic's side at Wembley, suggested England attempted to play too expansively in previous meetings.

'If you compare this week to Russia — when I was a fan, not in the national team — there may have been a lot more pompous news ahead of that match,' said the 26-year-old.

'Now we know they're an excellent team and they know the same about us. They are aware of our strengths. I don't believe they'll underestimate us or that they will play too openly.'

Gareth Southgate has a defensive headache, with Harry Maguire set to miss out through injury and Luke Shaw trialled as a centre half in training should England go with a back three.

Petkovic, sporting a black eye after a ball hit him flush in the face during a 1-0 friendly defeat by Belgium, could face just one recognised central defender in John Stones.

'We're aware of the squad England has, we know each one of those (first-choice) players have players from the best leagues in the world who can take their place,' Petkovic added.

'I don't have an idea about how they might play. We're analysing them and their advantages and disadvantages. We're confident and know what we can do.'

Related: CroatiaEngland