Croatia v England Betting Preview, Odds & Tips | 11th July
Alex Boardman (@A_Boardman) previews England v Croatia and provides us with his best bets for Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.
England v Croatia Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 11/07/18
- Time: 19:00
- Venue: Luzhniki Stadium Moscow
- Channel: ITV
It’s actually happening. England are in a World Cup semi-final for the first time in my lifetime. Through all the pre-tournament pessimism, doubts, and usual negativity surrounding the nation, England are one step away from the final.
Croatia will be a stern test, and will be the best team England have faced this tournament since Belgium (place an asterisk next to that game because neither squad would line up like that if they faced each other in the final.) Two La Liga lynchpins in Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic hold the Croatian midfield together and their attack is spear headed by Mario Mandzukic, a man who has scored goals across 3 of Europe’s big leagues. Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida, who are both having extremely good tournaments, are holding their back line together, whilst Monaco’s experienced keeper Subasic plays between the sticks. Its easy to see why this team has progressed to where they are, they are a solid unit that are hard to break down, and still offer a threat going forward.
Still, England should not and will not fear them.
Raheem Sterling came in for a lot of stick after the Sweden game due to his finishing, but his importance on the pitch can not be stated enough. The space and opportunities he creates for others from his off the ball running is invaluable to the team, and his role is an integral part of England’s success thus far. The back 5 and Jordan Pickford have been immense all tournament, with Harry Maguire and John Stones both coming of age at the tournament, whilst Jordan Henderson has been a real standout for England. It looks like Southgate will trust him to combat the Croatian midfield without the help of Eric Dier, as he looks to keep the same system that has worked this far into the tournament (3-5-2.)
The big news regarding team selection is actually on the Croatian side, with Atletico Madrid’s Sime Vrsaljko being ruled out through injury. That now means the right back area is something England need to expose, as either Vida will shift across from CB to there, or Vedran Corluka will play there. With the aerial presence England posses expect Ashley Young to look to keep their right back pinned high up the pitch to draw fouls and get balls whipped in.
Jamie Vardy still looks unlikely to feature for England due to an injury sustained in the Colombia game
As mentioned, Sime Vrsaljko is out for Croatia there is a slim chance Lovren may miss out through injury
Potential England Starting XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Alli, Henderson, Lingard, Young; Sterling, Kane
Potential Croatia Starting XI: Subasic; Corluka, Vida, Lovren, Strinic; Rakatic, Brozovic; Rebic, Modric, Perisic; Mandzukic
Head To Head
- The last time the 2 sides met in a major tournament game, England won 4-2 at Euro 2004.
- The last meeting between the 2 sides ended in a 5-1 win for England.
Key Stats & Facts
- England have scored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 games against Croatia.
- There have been under 2.5 goals scored in England’s last 3 World Cup games.
- England 27/20
- Draw 21/10
- Croatia 13/5
This will be a close game decided by just 1 goal. I sense that Sterling will step up to the occasion here and shut the doubters up, and wouldn’t be surprised if he scores more than once. It’s important that England finish their chances because they will create them.