It will be an especially unusual test for England given the Stadion HNK Rijeka will be deserted while the hosts complete a UEFA ground ban for having a swastika image on the pitch during a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy.
"I am sure Croatia feel the same".
Southgate's side were beaten by Croatia in Russian Federation earlier this year when they stood on the cusp of their first World Cup final appearance since 1966. For them, not to have the encouragement of what is an incredibly passionate support will be very different for them. "It's a odd environment for both teams, playing in front of an empty stadium, but it's important for us to achieve a good result". "We've always got to be flexible", he said. "Whether it's an advantage, though, who knows?"
Croatia captain Luka Modric believes the English media provided his country with extra motivation to beat the Three Lions in the World Cup semi-final.
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England have lost Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw to injury, while Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, Spurs full-back Danny Rose and Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck have also returned to their clubs.
Southgate has selected two teenagers - Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and Chelsea's Mason Mount, now on loan at Derby - in his squad, while Leicester's James Maddison has been called up for the first time.
Another loss tonight would make Croatia overwhelming favourites to finish bottom of their three-team group and suffer relegation from the Nations League's highest level.
"But it's important for us, we want to play as well as possible to achieve a good result". It is not experimentation.
"The team we play will be a team we believe in, whoever is ready to start", Southgate told reporters on Thursday (Oct 11). But, as a team, we are looking to how we improve and bring younger players into the system. Kovacic, Rakitic and Modric.