Croatia v Denmark Betting Preview, Odds & Tips | 1st July
Sam Langston (@Samlan98) previews Croatia v Denmark and provides us with his best bets for Sunday’s Round of 16 clash by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.
Croatia v Denmark Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 01/07/2018
- Time: 19:00
- Venue: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
- Channel: ITV
A tactical treat can be expected on Sunday evening when Group D table toppers, Croatia, clash with Group C runners-up, Denmark.
Zlatko Dalić and Åge Hareide are two tactically savvy customers, who both implement compact and disciplined playing styles with a focus towards defensive solidity.
Nine of Croatia’s ten World Cup qualifiers saw less than three goals scored, including each of their five fixtures on away soil, and new head coach Dalić has continued this tough-to-beat mentality. The Croat was appointed as successor to Ante Čačić last October and has managed five wins from six competitive fixtures, chalking up an impressive four clean sheets in the process.
Ex-Al-Ain gaffer Dalić has built a rigid rear guard who are difficult to break down but also utilizes his technical talent productively, by encouraging his side to be a threat on the counter. Marcelo Brozović and Ivan Rakitić make a dynamic central-midfield duo and are supported by two wingers who provide plenty of width, endeavor, and directness. Wide men Ante Rebić and Ivan Perišić deliver the ammunition to Mario Mandžukić, with Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modrić supporting the dangerous attacker from an advanced central area.
The Vatreni undoubtedly possess attacking talent in forward areas to pose a threat, but chances could be few and far between against Denmark, in a fixture which is expected to be a cagey affair. Both sides ranked relatively poorly in a number of offensive metrics over their three group games, suggesting that we could see a tie where opportunities are hard to come by. Croatia place in the bottom ten for shots on target and shots in the penalty area in the tournament thus far, whilst only Iran and Panama averaged less shots per-game than the Danes over the group stage. Hareide’s side also place a lowly 18th in the shots on target metric and 22nd for attempts in the penalty area, whilst astonishingly failing to register a shot in the six-yard box in 270 minutes of football – a stat which reflects their underwhelming campaign thus far.
The Scandinavians have failed to hit the levels they showed in World Cup qualifying and despite being unbeaten in eighteen international fixtures, are rightly priced up as underdogs here. They were lucky to pick up five points in the group stage and notwithstanding their decent defensive attributes, have possessed very little of an attacking threat. Each of Peru, Australia, and France ‘out-shot’ them in the groups and only Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa has been forced into making more saves than Kasper Schmeichel. Christian Eriksen is over-relied on going forward and if the Tottenham playmaker does not function, neither do his teammates.
Head coach Hareide has stated his side must be “smart” against a “strong (Croatia) team”, and therefore we can expect the Danes to once again sit-deep and rely on their defensive abilities to make for a competitive match-up. Six of their last seven competitive fixtures have produced two goals or below and subsequently, Under 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (No) initially appeals at a healthy 10/11 (with Ladbrokes). Outside of their homeland, this bet has paid out in five of their previous six versus nations ranked better than 20th in the ELO Ratings, whilst the same punt has also landed in four out of Croatia’s last seven meetings with similarly ranking sides.
Zlatko Dalić has no fresh injury concerns and will bring back his big guns after making wholesale changes in the 2-1 Iceland victory.
Defensive midfielder William Kvist is injured and will be absent from the Denmark Starting XI.
Potential Croatia Starting XI: Subašić, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Strinić, Brozović, Modrić, Rakitić, Rebić, Perišić, Mandžukić.
Potential Denmark Starting XI: Schmeichel, Larsen, Christensen, Kjær, Dalsgaard, Schöne, Delaney, Poulsen, Eriksen, Sisto, Jørgensen.
Head To Head
The last meeting between the sides was played in 2004. Croatia were the victors, running out 2-1 to the good.
Key Stats & Facts
- This is only the second time Croatia have advanced to the knockout stage of a major tournament since EURO 2008. Both games ended scoreless (vs Turkey in 2008 and Portugal in 2016).
- A 3-0 defeat to Czech Republic in EURO 2004 was the Danes’ last taste of knockout football at a major tournament. Their previous knockout appearance ended in the same score line at the 2002 World Cup (vs England in the Round of 16).
- Croatia – 10/11
- Draw – 12/5
- Denmark – 21/5
Both Croatia and Denmark carry solid defensive records and may cancel each other out in a game that neither will want to be open. Denmark’s competitiveness makes it difficult to back Croatia at odds-on, who undoubtedly carry the greater quality out of these two, but I certainly would not be touching the Danes at 21/5 either. Åge Hareide’s side were incredibly disappointing in the group stage and if they continue this form here the Croat’s will progress to the Quarter-Finals. A solitary goal may settle this game and when considering the overall assessment for this fixture, the price of 10/11 for Under 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (No) looks to be decent value and should be backed.