"The atmosphere is not easy for anybody". It's kind of sad for football.
England were playing a match behind closed doors for the first time in their history, a run spanning 987 matches, and the lack of noise from the stands was reflected by the events on the field. "I don't know who it is good for".
Just 93 days after the Three Lions lost to Zlatko Dalic's men in the World Cup semi-finals, the countries met in surroundings that could scarcely have been more different to July's huge encounter at the packed Luzhniki.
"It's about when to play long and when to play short and our players don't seem to be able to know how to dictate the pace of games at worldwide level".
No Croatia player played more passes in the opposition half or sent in more crosses than the Real Madrid midfielder, and he drew a save from Pickford with a fizzed shot from distance in the second half.
A small band of England supporters perched on a hill overlooking the deserted 8,000 capacity stadium in Rijeka tried to offer their encouragement.
The result inside the near-deserted stadium left both sides with one point from two games behind runaway leaders Spain, who have six points and host England in Seville on Monday.
And Southgate explained one of the key reasons behind his shift in tactics is because he feels his team are no longer vulnerable as they once were. "They were the only ones here".
Gareth Southgate believes England reinforced their position as an emerging worldwide force in last night's goalless draw in Croatia.
"We need to stop talking about Mario Mandzukic", added Dalic.
"He made his decision and we have to respect that and look for other solutions".
After the game, a number of England players spoke of the odd atmosphere in the empty stadium.
Dier headed Jordan Henderson's corner off the post a minute before the break.
England still have three other goalkeepers to choose from but Rose's exit, which came after Luke Shaw was forced to leave, means that Leicester's Ben Chilwell is now the only left-back in the squad.
Ross Barkley had strong claims for a penalty waived away on his first global appearance for two-and-a-half years before Rashford was twice presented with golden chances to score for the third straight game for his country.
"On another day we would have won 3-0", said Barkley.
Southgate introduced debutant Jadon Sancho for the final 15 minutes, but the Borussia Dortmund attacker - England's second-youngest debutant in a competitive game after Duncan Edwards - was unable to make a match-winning impact.