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England and Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford believes the Three Lions will be the beneficiaries in facing Croatia behind closed doors on Friday.

In a replay of one of the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, England face Croatia in the Uefa Nations League with both sides looking to bounce back from defeats to Spain in their opening matches.

However, there will be no supporters, Croatian or English, attending the match on at Stadion HNK Rijeka due to a ban placed on Croatia after a swastika was marked onto the pitch before a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy in June 2015.

As a result, Croatia were ordered to play their next two Uefa-sanctioned home matches in an empty stadium, the first being against Bulgaria in October 2015 and England on Friday completing the ban.

And England number one Pickford believes it could actually work better for the Three Lions.

“It is going to be very different,” he said (via the Daily Mail).

“I played in Croatia last year for Everton (in the Europa League) and I know how hostile their fans are.

“They are great for their teams so I think it gives us the upper hand going away from home and when they need their fans, they haven’t got them.”

Were England to lose against Croatia on Friday, the Three Lions would need to beat Spain next week or suffer relegation in the Nations League from League A to B.

Pickford’s England career so far

Now England’s first-choice goalkeeper, Pickford made his debut for the Three Lions less than a year ago, keeping a clean sheet in a goalless draw with Germany.

The Everton man has gone on to make 11 appearances for England, seven of which came in the World Cup as Gareth Southgate’s men reached the third-placed play-off.

In that time, Pickford has kept three clean sheets, conceding 11 goals but also became a hero during England’s penalty-shootout win over Colombia in the last-16 of the World Cup.

The post Empty stadium will benefit England against Croatia, claims Pickford appeared first on Squawka News.

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