Gareth Southgate is relishing renewing acquaintances with Croatia after England were drawn to face the side that beat them in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup at Euro 2020.

Mario Mandzukic's extra-time winner sent Zlatko Dalic's men through to the final in Russia at the expense of the Three Lions.

England gained a measure of revenge for that loss by edging out Croatia to reach last season's Nations League Finals.

They have since progressed to Euro 2020 courtesy of a free-scoring qualifying campaign with a youthful squad, although Southgate believes any suggestions Croatia's experienced generation led by Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic is on the slide are premature.

"I thought that maybe 12 months ago but they recovered really well in their group," he told BBC Sport after having confirmation Croatia will be England's first opponents of the competition at Wembley on June 14.

"We know the quality of their midfield players when they can leave [Mateo] Kovacic on the bench.

"That tells you a story. That's a really top-level fixture."

A draw in Bucharest that placed holders Portugal, Germany and world champions France in the same Group F fell favourable for England, who will also take on the Czech Republic and the winner of the play-off path featuring Scotland, Israel, Norway and Serbia in Group D.

"There are eight to 10 top nations. If you look at the history of European Championships, there are so many different winners," Southgate said.

"A lot of teams prepare their squads for the World Cups, they rebuild after World Cups. The margins are really, really fine."

England hammered the Czech Republic 5-0 at Wembley in qualification, with Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick, but they were beaten 2-1 in the return fixture.

"We were very poor in Prague," Southgate conceded. "They've definitely improved. A new coach [Jaroslav Silhavy] has had time to bed in, a couple of younger players came into their squad.

"We know we have to be on our game. It won’t be like the first game at Wembley, that's for sure.

"If you can win and be top seeds, you've got to try and take control of your own destiny. We've got to be confident of our own ability and take on whoever comes."

The multi-host format of Euro 2020 means major-tournament football returns to England's national stadium for the first time since Southgate and his team-mates reached the semi-finals of the same competition in 1996.

"I just think that's going to be a brilliant experience for our fans and our public," he added.

"Ten nations have that opportunity so it doesn't make it an advantage in terms of winning the tournament unless we can get to the semi-finals [that take place at Wembley along with the final], which is then back in our favour.

"We're really looking forward to the experience."

The last three European winners of major tournaments will play in the same pool at Euro 2020, after France, Portugal and Germany were all drawn together

Germany and France - victors at the respective 2014 and 2018 World Cups - will take on reigning European champions Portugal and a play-off winner in Group G.

Croatia, runners-up at last year's World Cup, will renew acquaintances with England, the side they beat in the semi-finals.

Here is the draw in full for next year's event, with four places in the finals still to be determined by the four path-winners in March's play-offs.

 

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, play-off winner from Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) or Romania if they win Path A.

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, play-off winner from Path C (Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia)

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, play-off winner from Path B (Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland)

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, play-off winner from Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary) or winner of Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) if Romania win Path A.

Holders Portugal will face world champions France and fellow heavyweights Germany in a daunting Group F at Euro 2020.

Saturday's draw in Bucharest pitted Fernando Santos' men and their talismanic captain Cristiano Ronaldo against the winners of the two World Cups either side of their Euro 2016 triumph.

It means Didier Deschamps' Bleus will have an opportunity for revenge after Portugal beat them on home soil at the Stade de France to lift the trophy.

The nation with the dubious pleasure of joining them is still to be determined. Iceland, Bulgaria or Hungary would claim the fourth spot if they progress through their play-off route in Path A.

However, if Romania are victorious in Path A, they will go into Group C with Netherlands, Ukraine and Austria.

In permutations that underline the convoluted and criticised format, one of Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo from play-off Path B would enter Group F if Romania qualify. Otherwise, the winner of Path B goes into Group C.

Italy open the tournament, which will take place across 12 host cities, when they entertain Turkey in Rome on June 12. Wales and Switzerland are also in Group A.

England and Croatia renew acquaintances at Wembley in Group D – Gareth Southgate's men having been sunk by a Mario Mandzukic winner in the semi-finals of Russia 2018 before progressing to the Nations League Finals at the expense of Zlatko Dalic's team.

There is the possibility of an all-British encounter if Scotland prevail from their play-off path alongside Israel, Norway and Serbia, while Czech Republic will meet England again in the finals having traded victories with the Three Lions during qualification.

Group B is the second group not waiting to see how play-off cards fall, with the world's number-one ranked team Belgium lining up alongside Denmark, Finland and Russia.

Spain are aiming to make it three European titles in four attempts after securing glory in 2008 and 2012.

They head up Group C, where the winner of the play-off route including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Slovakia and the Republic of Ireland will round out the line-up alongside Sweden and Poland.

The Euro 2020 play-offs take place during next March's international break.

The last three European winners of major tournaments will play in the same pool at Euro 2020, after France, Portugal and Germany were all drawn together

Germany and France - victors at the respective 2014 and 2018 World Cups - will take on reigning European champions Portugal and a play-off winner in Group G.

Croatia, runners-up at last year's World Cup, will renew acquaintances with England, the side they beat in the semi-finals.

Here is the draw in full for next year's event, with four places in the finals still to be determined by the four path-winners in March's play-offs.

 

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, play-off winner from Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) or Romania if they win Path A.

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, play-off winner from Path C (Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia)

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, play-off winner from Path B (Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland)

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, play-off winner from Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary) or winner of Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) if Romania win Path A.

The Czech Republic secured their qualification for Euro 2020 with a dramatic comeback win over Kosovo in Thursday's crucial Group A encounter.

Kosovo – who are guaranteed a play-off place thanks to their efforts in the UEFA Nations League – needed to avoid defeat at Doosan Arena to keep their chances of automatic qualification alive.

The visitors looked set to cause an upset when Sheffield Wednesday forward Atdhe Nuhiu put them ahead with a superb header in the 50th minute.

But the Czechs fought back, Alex Kral's stunning hit pulling them level before the midfielder provided the assist for Ondrej Celustka's winner eight minutes later as Jaroslav Silhavy's side completed the comeback to book their place at next year's tournament.

Elsewhere in Group A, leaders England wrapped up progression with a thumping 7-0 demolition of Montenegro at Wembley.

Earlier on Thursday, Turkey ensured their qualification with a 0-0 draw against Iceland – a result which also guaranteed France's spot in the finals, with the world champions coming from behind to defeat Moldova 2-1.

Despite a 6-0 win over Lithuania, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick, reigning champions Portugal must beat Luxembourg in their final match to take their place at the finals.

Spain, Belgium and Italy had already confirmed their places last month, with Ukraine, Russia and Poland having also sealed qualification.

Zdenek Ondrasek admitted he is still coming to terms with the mind-blowing moment of scoring the winning goal against England in his first international appearance for the Czech Republic.

Debutant Ondrasek, 30, was the hero in Prague as the Czech Republic came from behind to boost their hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2020 with a 2-1 victory on Friday.

The Czech's moved level with England atop Group A having played an extra game than their star-studded opponents with three rounds remaining.

Ondrasek replaced Patrik Schick after 65 minutes with the game level at 1-1 and the striker could barely believe he had scored the winner against the 2018 World Cup semi-finalists.

"I think it still doesn't feel right, I'm happy that I scored, but I don't feel it," he told UEFA.com.

 

GET IN!!! FULL-TIME!

Fantastic performance and even better result! 2-1 pic.twitter.com/FPybUblhcp

— Czech Football Team (@ceskarepre_eng) October 11, 2019

"It's so big I think my head will explode soon because I played my first game for my country, which I was waiting for so long, and I scored the winning goal against England. I'm so happy it's unbelievable.

"The other guys on the bench said 'score a goal, man'. So after an amazing pass from [Lukas] Masopust I hit it perfectly and I'm so happy It went in."

The Czech Republic finish their qualifying campaign in November with a home game against Kosovo before a trip to Bulgaria in the final round.

 

Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane agree England's loss to the Czech Republic was a "wake-up call" for the Three Lions.

England's perfect record in Euro 2020 qualifying ended in Prague on Friday despite Kane's early penalty putting Southgate's side ahead.

Defender Jakub Brabec equalised within five minutes then, in the closing stages at Eden Arena, substitute striker Zdenek Ondrasek hit the winner on his international debut.

England would have qualified for the finals had they won but are now joined on 12 points at the top of the group by the Czech Republic.

Qualification can still be sealed on Monday when England go to Bulgaria with Southgate demanding a response from the Three Lions after their first qualifying defeat for 10 years.

"In terms of a wake-up call, we have had a lot of plaudits but there is a lot of work to be done to be a really top team – tonight was clear evidence of that," Southgate told reporters.

"I always have to accept responsibility. We tried something to be more solid without the ball and that did not happen. We were poorer using the ball in the first half.

"In terms of the players, there are players who are not playing well for their clubs. That is the situation we are in. But we collectively have to accept the result and as manager I have to accept it.

"We have to respond in the right way, we have a couple of days to prepare and we have to reward our supporters with a better performance. There were not many positives. We accept defeat, and accept we have to be better than we were."

Kane hit his 24th international goal but the striker agreed with Southgate's assessment of England's below-par performance in Prague.

"I think it was down to us," Kane said to ITV. "It was a perfect start to an away game.

"We were sloppy with the ball, we didn't move it as quickly and we weren't pressing as we normally do.

"The second half was better, we had a couple of chances to put the game to bed and we didn't and unfortunately we gave one away at the end.

"Every away game in Europe is difficult. They had the crowd behind them, sometimes the pitch is not as easy to play, but that's no excuse. It's a bit of a wake-up call but we're in a good position.

"There's still stuff to work on for sure. We gave the ball away too cheaply and we'll have to go away and look at it. There's no need to panic and we'll go again on Monday."

Gareth Southgate accepted England were not good enough in a 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifier loss away to the Czech Republic on Friday.

England topped Group A ahead of the clash at Eden Arena having taken a maximum 12 points from four games and victory would have secured their place at the finals.

The Three Lions made a positive start when captain Harry Kane converted an early penalty, but the lead lasted less than five minutes as Jakub Brabec punished sloppy defending to score from a corner.

Jaroslav Silhavy's side moved level on points with England when Zdenek Ondrasek came off the bench to fire home the winner on his international debut.

England had scored at least four times each of their previous matches in the campaign to date but fell to a first qualifying loss since 2009, ending a run of 43-game run without defeat.

Southgate felt his side were poor at the back, while a lack of quality on the ball was also highlighted as a factor in the loss.

"We've had a lot of credit in the last two years but we didn't do enough to win," he told ITV Sport.

"The performance was not good enough, simple as that.

"We probably should have got a draw but the goal we conceded was typical of chances we conceded.

"I think there were things we can look back on, collectively not enough good performances. 

"We tried to change shape in the first half and it didn't work as well as we hoped, so we changed it and we started better in the second half and had good chances to win the game.

"But we conceded too many poor chances and conceded possession too often.

"We knew we'd have to be at full tilt to deal with the Czech Republic, but we should have been strong enough to deal with them."

Nations League semi-finalists England resume their qualifying campaign away to Bulgaria on Monday.

Zdenek Ondrasek came off the bench on his international debut to earn the Czech Republic a 2-1 win at home to England, denying the Three Lions qualification for Euro 2020.

Harry Kane's fifth-minute penalty - the England captain's 27th international goal - put Gareth Southgate's side in front early on Friday, yet the hosts hit back within five minutes.

Centre-back Jakub Brabec profited on slack set-piece marking to level the scores and, as the game appeared to be drifting towards a draw, the Czech Republic struck again.

With five minutes to go, Lukas Masopust raided down the right and pulled a low cross back for striker Ondrasek, who confidently beat Jordan Pickford to snatch all three points.

Patty Mills starred as Australia beat Czech Republic 82-70 in Shanghai to reach the FIBA World Cup semi-finals for the first time.

The Boomers sealed a sixth consecutive victory in the tournament to make history at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center on Wednesday.

Australia took charge in the third quarter, outscoring the Czechs by 30 points to 18 to seize control and went on to set up a last-four showdown with Spain in Beijing on Friday.

Mills, Chris Goulding and Andrew Bogut played key roles for Andrej Lemanis' side, scoring 48 points between them to ensure a brilliant performance from Tomas Satoransky was in vain.

Satoransky sunk 13 points, laid on 12 assists and claimed nine rebounds, while Patrik Auda racked up 21 points in defeat for the Czechs.

Point guard Mills shot nine of 15 from the field as he bagged a game-high 24 points, grabbing four rebounds and providing six assists in an influential display.

Goulding and Bogut – on court for just over 12 minutes – finished with 14 and 10 points respectively.

The quarter-final draw for the FIBA World Cup was completed on Monday with the United States to face France in perhaps the pick of the games.

Team USA defeated Brazil to send their opponents crashing out, with Czech Republic instead advancing having held Greece to only a narrow victory earlier in the day.

Australia edged France in Group L to avoid a last-eight meeting with defending champions USA, who will instead face the second-placed side.

Lithuania bowed out with a victory in the same pool, beating Dominican Republic 74-55.

In the classification round, Montenegro, New Zealand, Jordan and Germany achieved wins against Japan, Turkey, Senegal and Canada respectively.

New Zealand and Germany each finished top of their groups.
 

PAIN FOR GREECE AND GIANNIS

Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo could not lead Greece to World Cup glory as he fouled out for the second time in the tournament in their 84-77 win over Czech Republic.

Only a 12-point margin of victory would have been enough to keep Greece's hopes of progression alive but they could not hold on after leading 65-53 in the fourth quarter.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis' brother and Milwaukee Bucks team-mate, said: "Our first objective was to win, and then to win by 12. We paid for the game against Brazil in the first round.

"But this is basketball. Sometimes you are on top, sometimes you're on the other side."
 

USA DENY BRAZIL PROGRESSION

Czech Republic still had to wait on the final result of the day, where they needed USA to beat Brazil in order to join the American side in the next stage.

Their progression was sealed, dumping Brazil out, as Kemba Walker and Myles Turner starred with 16 points apiece in the United States' 89-73 success.

Walker also supplied five assists and Turner eight rebounds, despite the latter playing just 20 minutes and 41 seconds for Gregg Popovich's side in Shenzhen.
 

BOOMERS SCORE BIG TO BEAT FRANCE

It is Australia who will play Czech Republic next after booking a place on the opposite side of the draw to USA by handing France a narrow defeat.

A final scoreline of 100-98 represented the first time France have ever given up a century of points in a World Cup game, with Evan Fournier's 31 not enough to rescue a result.

This was the first match at the tournament with two players scoring at least 30 points, while Australia became the first to have three on 20 or more, as Patty Mills managed exactly 30, with Joe Ingles on 23 and Aron Baynes – who converted five of his six three-point attempts - on 21.

Team-mate Jock Landale said of Baynes: "He's huge. That's what he does for us. He's a stretched five, who shoots the ball really well. He is going to keep doing it for us and we are going to keep letting him shoot."

NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo fouled out as Greece were eliminated from the FIBA World Cup despite an 84-77 win over Czech Republic.

Greece needed a 12-point margin of victory to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals, but their star man was unable to lead the way.

The Czechs led at half-time and, despite a strong third quarter from Greece, their hopes were dashed in the final reckoning as Antetokounmpo was forced out of the game after being pinged for a contentious charge.

The Milwaukee Bucks talisman had made consecutive double-doubles in his past two games, including against the United States, but he was not as impressive on Monday.

Antetokounmpo, who fouled out with five and half minutes remaining, ended with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for the 24-year-old and his team, who were 65-53 up when he came back into the game during the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Czech Republic needed the USA to beat Brazil to ensure they make the knockout phase.

Defending FIBA World Cup champions the United States advanced to the quarter-finals by defeating Greece, while Canada made history against Jordan.

NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was unable to lead Greece to a shock victory over Team USA in Shenzhen, leaving them requiring a big win over the Czech Republic in their final second-round match if they are to have a chance of reaching the last eight.

Australia overcame the Dominican Republic 82-76 and France beat Lithuania 78-75 in a dramatic finale, meaning the two victors secured their progression and will battle it out for top spot in Group L on Monday.

The Czech Republic kept their hopes of reaching the last eight alive by defeating Brazil 93-71 – Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky producing a sensational all-round display with 20 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

In the classification round, there were victories for Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Turkey.

 

GIANNIS FAILS TO GET GREECE FIRING

Antetokounmpo was expected to be key to Greece's hopes of pulling off an upset against the United States and he had a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

However, he was -17 in his 27 minutes on the floor – the worst +/- rating of anyone on his team – and it was while he was on the bench that Greece closed the gap to 11 points with four minutes remaining.

Kemba Walker led USA with 15 points, while Donovan Mitchell contributed 10.

 

BOOMERS STILL BOOMING

Patty Mills posted 19 points and nine assists as Australia held off the Dominican Republic for their fourth straight win.

Jock Londale impressed with 13 points on five-of-six shooting, while Chris Goulding added 15 and Aron Baynes put up 10.

Baynes fouled out with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, but replacement Andrew Bogut stepped up and provided eight points, eight rebounds and six assists.

 

FRANCE THROUGH

Nando De Colo sunk a fadeaway jump shot with 15 seconds of the match remaining to put France three points clear of Lithuania, who saw Jonas Maciulis fail to make a buzzer-beating shot from beyond the arc.

De Colo had 21 points off the bench, while Evan Fournier scored 24 in a commanding display.

Rudy Gobert said: "It was like a final for us. We knew we had to win this game in order to qualify for the quarter-finals. We know that Australia is a tough team too, but we are taking it one game at a time. We are going to get some rest and get ready for Australia."

 

HISTORY FOR CANADA

Nick Nurse's side sank 24 three-pointers in their 126-71 triumph over Jordan, the most in a single FIBA World Cup game.

Canada shot at 58.7 per cent from the floor and combined for 37 assists, equalling the record set by Serbia in their victory over the Philippines in the first round.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was in sensational form as Greece booked their place in the FIBA World Cup second round, while the United States completed a clean sweep in Group E.

Greece won a qualification shoot-out against New Zealand 103-97 to follow Brazil out of Group F, the South American side making it three straight victories by overcoming Montenegro 84-73.

After needing overtime to see off Turkey last time out, Team USA were back on song as they hammered Japan 98-45.

Australia and France booked top spot in their respective groups with wins over Lithuania and Dominican Republic, while Germany and Canada got off the mark.

 

USA BACK ON TRACK

Team USA had five players in double figures for scoring as they comfortably saw off Japan in Shanghai.

Jaylen Brown had a game-high 20 points and Kemba Walker added 15 and eight assists in a routine victory for Gregg Popovich's side.

They will face tricky encounters against Greece and Brazil in the second round.

Turkey were unable to follow the USA out of Group E, as Czech Republic advanced at their expense courtesy of a 91-76 victory in their meeting.

 

GIANNIS GETS GREECE GOING

Having struggled to make his mark in Greece's opening two matches, Antetokounmpo ensured their campaign in China was not derailed in their first-round finale.

The Milwaukee Bucks forward posted a brilliant 24 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals to ensure Corey Webster's 31 points for New Zealand came in vain.

Defeat for the Tall Blacks meant rivals Australia qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games as the best ranked team from Oceania.

 

HISTORY FOR AUSTRALIA

The Boomers made it three straight wins at the start of a World Cup campaign for the first time in their history with an 87-82 victory over Lithuania.

Aron Baynes contributed 21 points and 13 assists for his first double-double in the competition, while Patty Mills scored 23 off eight-of-16 shooting.

The victory ensured Australia topped Group H ahead of Lithuania, with Nick Nurse's Canada taking third following an 82-60 defeat of Senegal.

Cory Joseph was key to Canada's success, combining 24 points with three assists and two steals.

Gregg Popovich's United States team survived an almighty fright in the FIBA World Cup as they claimed a 93-92 overtime victory over Turkey in Shanghai.

Turkey had a chance to hand USA their first preliminary round loss in the competition since 1998 and were one point up in the final 10 seconds.

However, they missed four free throws in the dying embers and Khris Middleton made no mistake with his pair of tries to spare USA's blushes and send them into the second round.

Elsewhere, Joe Ingles' statline of 17-10-9 ensured Australia made it two wins from two in a 81-68 victory over Senegal while Middleton's Milwaukee Bucks team-mate Giannis Antetokounmpo's fouled out in Greece's 79-78 loss to Brazil.

USA SURVIVE UPSET SCARE

Even a depleted USA roster was expected to have few issues in the early stages of the tournament, but Turkey came close to pulling off a huge upset against the defending champions.

Popovich's team were five points up in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, yet a 7-0 run from Turkey meant the game went down to the wire. 

A foul on Jayson Tatum at the buzzer gave him three free throws, and USA would have won in regulation had he made them all - but he could only drain two.

Turkey had a five-point advantage in the additional period and twice had an opportunity to go three points up with nine seconds remaining only for Douglas Balbay and Cedi Osman to fluff their lines from the free-throw line.

Middleton kept his cool as USA survived a scare on the court, though Boston Celtics star Tatum appeared to pick up a worrying looking ankle injury at the end.

GIANNIS' GREECE GO DOWN

The NBA's reigning MVP Antetokounmpo had a day to forget as Greece suffered a narrow loss to Brazil that mean the South Americans booked their spot in the second round.

Antetokounmpo had fouled out by the time Greece tried to tie the game up late on and force overtime, but Kostas Sloukas could only make two of his three free-throws with two seconds remaining as Brazil claimed a one-point success.

Former Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors center Anderson Varejao led all scorers with 22 points while Antetokounmpo had just 13 in his 28 minutes on court.

Elsewhere in Group F, New Zealand beat Montenegro 93-83.

INGLES COMES CLOSE TO HISTORY AS BOOMERS WIN AGAIN

There has never been a triple-double in a FIBA World Cup but Ingles came close to a slice of history as Australia eased past Senegal.

Ingles was one assist away from a triple-double, contributing nine of their 28 assists as the Boomers warmed up for their clash with Lithuania, who joined them in the second round with a 92-69 triumph.

In Group G, France also moved to 2-0 with a 103-64 thrashing of Jordan, while Dominican Republic kept their unbeaten start intact by beating Germany 70-68.

The day's other game saw Czech Republic defeat Japan 89-76.

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