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Joe Cole believes England are getting stronger and stronger under Fabio Capello and that regardless of who makes the starting eleven on Wednesday, the most important thing is the result.

Cole's two goals were vital against Andorra on Saturday and the Chelsea midfielder knows another victory in Zagreb will make it another big step on the road to South Africa in 2010.

"The way this team is set up, we are getting stronger every time we meet up and I think there is more mental toughness," Cole explained.

"Even if we hadn't scored until the 89th minute against Andorra, the lads would have kept trying to do the right things.

"We know it will be tough against Croatia because they have so many good players who can pick you off. And if you don't keep hold of the ball then it is very dangerous.

"But we are going there to win and if we do that then we'll be right in the driving seat as far as qualification is concerned.

"I think even a draw would put us in control, but we will be going out to win."

But Cole revealed that he is more focused on a positive result for England than whether or not he starts in the Maksimir Stadium on Wednesday evening.

He said: "Should I be in the side? It is not important. The main thing is getting the right results. We came here to Barcelona on Saturday to get the win. We got that done. Now we've got to move on.

"To be honest no-one under the new regime is confident of starting. You saw the team the gaffer put out on Saturday had new faces and players coming back into the side.

"It is good that everyone has got to fight for your place and you've got to perform every game so I think that is a positive thing and we are moving forward."
Source: The Fa

i feel downing shouldnt have started against andorra but joe cole.. him coming off the bench and scoring 2 goals shows he makes an impact..
 

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we've got to improve on saturday's performance thats for sure.would be sweet revenge to beat croatia though.
 

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Berbatov>Tevez
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hmm - just found out that we haven't lost a WC qualifier since 1997 ! add our unbeaten home record and you get an impressive results
 

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is ashley young in the squad?

if he is, for this match,

james
johnson terry lescott(ferdinand) a.cole
young gerrard barry j.cole
walcott rooney
 

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CROoney said:
hmm - just found out that we haven't lost a WC qualifier since 1997 ! add our unbeaten home record and you get an impressive results
What I want to know is whether you're watching CROoney..... have you gotten over Euro 2008 yet?
 

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I cant wait for this match!

I tip the Croats (yes I am biased, I support them lol) but it won't be an easy game since the English are after revenge. But then again if a Man Utd player say does awesome and wins it for the English or ties it I won't be too disappointing lol
 

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RedForceRising said:
What I want to know is whether you're watching CROoney..... have you gotten over Euro 2008 yet?
yes.yes i have ...thanks for asking...i love united, i really do, but when croatia's playing - wow - emotions run high
 

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hehehe - love how everyone thinks that modric is the man to stop - the main man - i adore the lad - but if you stop him on the left, you have ivan rakititc (our display depends more on him than on modric) and danijel pranjic on the left - and darijo srna and vedran corluka on the right - not to mention "our" tevez upfront - ivica olic (if tevez's CL qualitiy ,olic is UEFA CUP quality )..not to mention the likes of ivan klasnic and mladen petric who could change the outcome when introduced ..there's a lot more about croatia than modric...everyone seems to think that heskey is the right answer, big, tall and all - i think - yes - he is physical - but lacks class imo...would prefer crouch but hey - it's your team

ivan rakitic - remember the name - the guy can become better than boban not to mention modric and co.....
 

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Bilic Blasts Rafa & Fergie

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has slammed Premier League clubs for contriving to withhold players from international duty, singling out Liverpool and Manchester United in particular.

England will arguably be missing their most dangerous player and their most reliable midfielder when they face Croatia in World Cup qualifying this week.

Steven Gerrard was declared unavailable after undergoing surgery on his groin a fortnight ago, while Owen Hargreaves is supposedly still struggling with a knee
problem.

Controversy has sprung up over the timing of these injury issues - especially Gerrard, who will rather conveniently return to action for Liverpool this weekend.

A bewildered Bilic insisted it is no wonder England's national team have struggled to be competitive on the big stage when they are hamstrung by their own clubs.

Problem

He said in The Sun: “When your league and clubs are much bigger than the national team you have a problem.

“You can’t help the national team. Put it this way — did Gerrard have to go have the operation now? Is Hargreaves really so injured that he can’t even come to try?

“Of course if my players are injured they’re not playing. Firstly because of them and secondly because we have to have a fit guy playing. I never had a problem with a club that told me, ‘he ain’t gonna come’.

“But using the international break to rest players or for them to have an operation — well, you need to address that.”

Relieved

On the other hand, Bilic is grateful that he will not have to worry about Gerrard's match-winning potential on Wednesday night.

He said: “I’m relieved Stevie G won’t be there — as I was when he was suspended two years ago. He’s one of those players who can decide a game with his energy, technique, skill or strike in one second, even when we’re ready for him.

“I’m relieved big time. The blow couldn’t be bigger for England. Your biggest problem last time was injuries.”
 

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lol - he didn't blast them - he said the truth tbh----playing for your country and being fit must be priority but sadly money makes the world go round these days
 

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Bilic makes a valid point about Gerrard. Liverpool clearly timed the operation in hope that he would be fit for the United game but that will not be the case.

However, Hargreaves has not played this season so how could he be fit for a vital World Cup qualifier?
 

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CROoney said:
lol - he didn't blast them - he said the truth tbh----playing for your country and being fit must be priority but sadly money makes the world go round these days
agree about that


btw am not bothered with the club over country issue as i don't support england and support united
 

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When is the match ?

can't wait to see Modric breaking the English defence with his passing and Olic troubling the whole team with his pace

also i would like to see Petric scoring :cool: :p
 

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Come on Croatia! Personally, I think England is going to be absolutely slaughtered. Those cute lateral passes aren't gonna work when the Croats take ball and start passing circles around England's "world class" players.
 
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