BARCELONA (AFP) - England's senior players, including David Beckham and John Terry, are attempting to quash any talk of revenge as they prepare for a World Cup qualifier against Croatia in Zagreb on Wednesday that could begin to define the new Fabio Capello era.
It was Croatia who dramatically ended England's hopes of qualifying for the Euro 2008 finals when they won 3-2 at Wembley last November, a result that ultimately led to the sacking of Head Coach Steve McClaren.
Slaven Bilic's side also beat McClaren's team 2-0 at home during the same campaign and the wounds from both those defeats still fester for many players in the England camp.
Their return to Zagreb, so early in the World Cup qualifying campaign, is certain to bring calls for both revenge and redemption but Beckham, in particular, is anxious to avoid any further hype.
Having stuttered to a 2-0 victory over Andorra in their opening match in Group 6 this is hardly the time for England to indulge in overblown statements, particularly as they have yet to impress under new manager Capello - the man brought in at great expense to save English football from another summer home alone in 2010.
"It's not about having a score to settle," insisted Beckham. "We just want to get a good result and put a good performance in, that's the thing.
"It's not about settling old scores and old games we've played against Croatia because we know they are a tough team, we know they've got some really good player and we know it's very hostile there.
"We have to forget about what has gone on in the past. This is the present and we have to work towards what we want to achieve in this group."
Beckham's message was echoed by his captain Terry in Barcelona, where England will continue to be based until flying to Zagreb on Monday evening.
Terry said: "I don't want to get across any kind of revenge message but, at the same time, it's a new campaign and we are going there to pick up three points so if we can get off to a good six-point start then we will take that.
"We have to rise to the challenge. We know it's difficult and we know they have not been beaten there for a long time. We have to go there with a clean slate and not think about the last game we played against them."
It will be interesting to see what changes, if any, Capello makes to his team after he needed Joe Cole to come off the bench and save England against Andorra with two quick goals early in the second half at the Estadi Olimpic.
Certainly Cole will hope to replace the ineffective Stewart Downing in the starting line-up while Beckham, left on the bench against Andorra as Arsenal winger Theo Walcott was handed his debut, is tipped to return in Zagreb where experience will be crucial.
But the former England captain is positioning himself very much as a team player these days.
He said: "We will have to wait and see if I start the next game. At the end of the day it's all about a squad, I've already said that. I was happy to get on and get another cap but I think the players stuck together against Andorra, and we have done all week.
"We've worked hard together as a unit, not just the starting 11 but everybody else that's in the squad. Obviously I've got experience but there's other players that are younger than me that have got experience just by the fact that they have played in some of the biggest games in the world.
"We've got that experience and we will need it on Wednesday."
|Sessegnon signs with Montpellier|
|Rakitic delighted with form|
|Gameiro: I could have joined Barcelona|
|Stones talks up Celtic quality|
|Liverpool good enough to win title - Houllier|
|Klopp happy with Firmino in central role|
|Watford got bullied all over the pitch - Deeney|
|Nuno keen for Porto to end England misery|
|Legia boss Magiera set for whirlwind debut|
|´Terrific´ Burnley delight Dyche|
|Burnley 2 Watford 0: Landmark goals for Hendrick and Keane seal first win in four|
|Schmidt lauds hitman Hernandez|
|Klopp not banking on Liverpool winning title|
|Kroos plays down Ronaldo rage rumours|
|Confidence coursing through Copenhagen|
|Madrid form draws no concern for Zidane|
|Burki looking forward to ´dream´ Madrid clash|
|Juve and Higuain have work to do - Allegri|
|CSKA boss Slutski wary of Tottenham threat|
|Pochettino: Kane to return within three weeks|
|City youngster Diaz signs three-year deal|
|Aurier vows to ´continue working hard´ for PSG despite prison sentence|
|Tuchel expecting Ronaldo on top form|
|Ter Stegen eyes new Barcelona deal|
|Hazard: No excuse for Arsenal defeat|
|Cisse back in training with Auxerre|
|Hummels resumes training ahead of Atletico clash|
|Facing Barcelona´s MSN not a nightmare, insists Bravo|
|Thiago: Atletico defence best in the world|
|Alonso wants to end career at Bayern Munich|
|Ranieri went to Slimani for Porto advice|
|Draxler: Wolfsburg blocked my exit|
|Samoura defends abolishment of racism task force|
|Sampaoli backs Nasri for France recall|
|Gisdol ´twitching with joy´ at Hamburg presentation|
|Zanetti determined Inter will return to the top|
|Getafe sack Esnaider|
|Bartra happy with playing time at Dortmund|
|Aurier handed two-month prison sentence over police altercation|
|Klopp attributes Lallana´s fine form to hard work|
|Totti´s wife slams ´small man´ Spalletti|
|Guardiola has already done an amazing job at Manchester City - Alonso|
|Referees attacked by hooligans in Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Griezmann: I am not the anti-Benzema|
|Sterling hails Guardiola´s role in goalscoring form|
|Champions League Matchday Two: Madrid look for first win in Dortmund|
|Smalling confident Rooney will bounce back|
|Vardy fears ´permanent stain against my name´ following casino incident|
|Brave Wilshere will reap rewards of loan move - Howe|
|MLS Review: Sounders surprise Galaxy, Kamara double sinks New England|
|Walcott a special case - Wenger|
|Guardiola striving for more after perfect 10|
|Chelsea risk another mid-table finish, admits Conte|
|Montella feels AC Milan lacked courage|
|Robben speaks out on injury fears|
|Fiorentina 0 AC Milan 0: Ilicic misses penalty on Montella´s return|
|Gisdol replaces Labbadia at Hamburg|
|Ibrahimovic threatened me over Pogba deal - Raiola|
|Balotelli could make Nice return against Krasnodar|
|Southampton deserved to win – Bilic|
|Podolski takes aim at Mourinho over Schweinsteiger treatment|
|Atletico midfielder Augusto suffers ACL injury|
|Sagna: More to Aguero than goals|
|Errors are urgent matter for Schalke - Weinzierl|
|Puel delighted with sublime Southampton second half|
|Simeone praises ´decisive´ Gameiro|
|Noble: West Ham can´t get any worse|
|Pjanic: I will play wherever Allegri needs me|
|West Ham 0 Southampton 3: Defensive woes pile pressure on Bilic|
|Kondogbia makes the same mistakes often – De Boer|
|Gray backed by Dyche after ban for abusive social media posts|
|Gabriel needs time to get used to Serie A - Ausilio|
|Atletico Madrid´s Gimenez and Augusto doubts for Bayern Munich clash|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Deportivo La Coruna 0: Griezmann downs 10-man Depor|
|Angry Spalletti slams Roma players´ attitude|
|Liverpool have unbelievable quality - Milner|
|Simeone´s son Giovanni scores first Serie A goal|
|Ivanovic: Chelsea let Conte down|
|Inter 1 Bologna 1: Battling Bologna end Inter streak|
|Guardiola: Top-four finish very tough for Man City|
|Rodgers expecting tough test against City and Aguero|
|Zamparini admits Balotelli interested Palermo|
|Former Swansea, Arsenal great Mel Charles dies|
|Asamoah, Rugani ruled out for up to seven weeks|
|Totti reaches 250 Serie A goals in Roma defeat|
|Alves makes LaLiga history as Valencia see off Leganes|
|Guardiola rues De Bruyne injury as Man City await scan|
|Las Palmas draw could prove costly, admits Morata|
|Gabriel explains choosing Inter over Juventus|
|Hamburg dismiss Labbadia|
|West Ham players expect Payet´s free-kick magic - Antonio|
|Man City must tell Guardiola to stop, says Toure´s agent|
|Hamsik thrilled to reach 100 Napoli goals|
|Zabaleta warns Man City over Celtic backlash|
|MLS Review: Red Bulls, Toronto into play-offs|
|´We were unlucky´ - Bale|
|Guardiola keen for Spurs test|
|Rodgers: I never fell out with Sterling|
|Wenger hails ´different´ Walcott|
|Mazzarri backs Deeney for England call-up|
|Mamelodi Sundowns and Zamalek reach CAF Champions League final|