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8 September 2008

England driven by unfinished business, says captain Terry

ohn Terry, England's captain, has rallied his team-mates before Wednesday's daunting trip to Zagreb by insisting that they have "unfinished business" with Slaven Bilic's side as they attempt to become the first visiting team to win a qualifying tie in Croatia for 14 years.
The Croats have never been beaten in a European Championship or World Cup qualifier at home since they began competing as a nation in 1994, and the convincing 2-0 victory they inflicted on Steve McClaren's side in October 2007 still smarts. Bilic's team followed that up with the decisive 3-2 success at Wembley which cost the England coach his job and the nation a place at Euro 2008.
"I think we have got unfinished business with Croatia," Terry said, after the Croats eased past Kazakhstan at the Maksimir stadium to extend their unbeaten competitive home run to 35 matches. "This is a new campaign and we are going there to pick up three points. If we can get off to a good six-point start, we'll take that. We know it's going to be tough again but, hopefully, they will come at us a bit more than Andorra did.
"You just try and rise to the challenge whenever you go back to a ground where you have bad memories. We know it's difficult and we know they have not been beaten there for a long time. We have the same at Aston Villa with Chelsea - we have not won there for a few years and every year we go back to Villa Park and we know it's going to be difficult, but we try our hardest. We have to go there with a clean slate and not think about the last game there or the last game at Wembley."
England's medical staff will assess Terry's centre-back partner, Rio Ferdinand, who has been sidelined with a recurrence of a back injury and is in doubt for the Group Six match.
Fabio Capello must also decide whether to recall David Beckham to the starting line-up after describing Theo Walcott's performance against Andorra as "excellent". Beckham's experience could prove crucial at the intimidating Maksimir. "We've got experience in the squad, players who have played in some of the biggest games in the world," said the 33-year-old. "We've got that experience and we will need it on Wednesday."