Gareth Southgate and his team have the opportunity to avenge their 2018 World Cup semi-final loss and lay down a marker in Group D, ahead of clashes with Scotland and Czech Republic.
There has been plenty of discussion over who Southgate will – or should – name in his starting XI for this match, which could set the tone for the Three Lions’ tournament this month.
England will have home advantage at Wembley here and in their remaining group matches, as well as the semi-final and final – should they make it that far…
But now is not the time to look past the first round. Instead, here’s everything you need to know about England vs Croatia:
When is it?
The match will kick off at 2pm on Sunday 13 June.
How can I watch it?
The game will air live on BBC One in Britain.
What is the team news?
Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire has finally joined training but is not expected to be fit for any of England’s group games, while Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson sustained a serious injury in February but returned for 45 minutes in a friendly against Romania last week.
His club team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold was forced to withdraw from Southgate’s squad due to an injury picked up by the right-back in the previous friendly against Austria, while Man United forward Mason Greenwood pulled out of the provisional squad before that – also due to injury.
Southgate’s starting line-up has been the subject of great debate and intense speculation, with it unclear whether he knows his best XI or even his best formation, despite his suggestions otherwise. Four at the back? Three at the back? Either way, Brighton centre-back Ben White – drafted in after Alexander-Arnold’s withdrawal – could start due to his impressive showings in the warm-up games last week.
The only players who seem certain to start, however, are midfielders Declan Rice and Mason Mount, and striker and captain Harry Kane. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and defender John Stones are probably the next names on the teamsheet, but who really knows? Fans are desperate to seeJack Grealish start in midfield, and/or the similarly exciting Phil Foden.
England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Mings, Trippier; Rice, Phillips; Foden, Mount, Sterling; Kane
Croatia: Livakovic; Vrsaljko, Vida, Caleta-Car, Barisic; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric; Rebic, Petkovic, Perisic
England – 4/6
Draw – 27/10
Croatia – 9/2
The three meetings between these England and Croatia sides in recent memory have ended in one win each plus a draw and 3-3 on aggregate. That’s how closely matched they are. Croatia’s golden generation is gently fading away but they will know what to expect and it will be up to England to show more composure in possession than they did during that semi-final in Moscow. It will be tight and England may need to be patient but Gareth Southgate’s emerging pool of attacking talent should edge them through. England 2-1 Croatia.