England must set tone - Terry

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Captain John Terry has stressed the need for England to win the physical battle with Croatia if they are to triumph in their World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

The Croatians have adopted an aggressive approach towards England in recent previous meetings, including their 3-2 win at Wembley two years ago and even when beaten 4-1 at home last September.

Terry is expecting a similar style on Wednesday and said: "I think the importance of that first 10-15 minutes cannot be over-stressed. From a personal point of view, the last game in Zagreb was very physical. They set the tone of the game early on. That is what we need to do."

He added: "I think for the first 15 minutes we need to be aggressive and match them. When the ball does get down and we start playing I think we've seen we can match a lot of the teams in the world.

"But physically, as we do at Chelsea, you go out to win your battles early on. That's key; that can set the tone of the game."

The circumstances of the tie will have a major bearing on tactics, Terry points out.

"They have to win, so we have to make sure we are organised and very patient as well and soak up a lot of the pressure they are going to try and pile on early on - which they did over there," he added.

"If we can do that, with the quality we have got going forward, we can always score goals."

England have a 100% record from their opening seven qualifiers, and Terry would like England to finish their group with an unblemished record.

He said: "To win all 10 qualifiers, that is the ideal situation. We all realise we are still not qualified, and Croatia is going to be a tough game. I don't think it is really a revenge situation - although with what happened in the last game against Croatia at Wembley, there is a little bit of that."

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John Terry
Premier League

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