Patrick Gillen (@PatrickGillen94) previews England v Croatia and provides us with his best bets for Sunday afternoon’s crucial Nations League decider at Wembley, analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.
England v Croatia Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 18/11/18
- Time: 14:00
- Venue: Wembley Stadium
- Channel: Sky Sports Main Event
It’s all to play for at Wembley on Sunday as England face Croatia with both sides knowing that a win would secure a place in the Nations League finals, while defeat would mean relegation.
Tin Jedvaj’s dramatic, last-gasp winner for Croatia against Spain on Thursday night has blown Group 4 of League A wide open in the UEFA Nations League.
The 3-2 victory now means that both England and Croatia are on 4 points, sitting just two points behind group leaders Spain, who have played all of their fixtures.
The Spanish will be watching on anxiously on Sunday knowing that a win for either nation at Wembley would see them knocked off the top of the group.
A goalless draw on Sunday would see Spain win the group, England finish second and Croatia suffer relegation.
A score draw would see England relegated, with Spain again heading through to the finals and Croatia sitting safe in second place.
England will take confidence from their 3-0 win against USA on Thursday night, a game in which Wayne Rooney was given his farewell appearance.
Rooney was denied a departing goal by a stoppage time save from Brad Guzan, but goals from Jesse Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Callum Wilson gave the Three Lions a much deserved win.
It was goalless in the last meeting between these two sides last month, but mind’s will still be cast back to July when Croatia’s 2-1 extra time win over England in the World Cup semi-final broke English hearts.
It was a case of what could it have been for England in the summer, so Gareth Southgate and his side will be looking to put it right on Sunday on home soil by qualifying for the UEFA Nations league finals.
Wayne Rooney drops out of the squad having played his last game for the country against USA on Thursday.
Aside from that, Gareth Southgate should have a full squad to choose from.
For the visitors, it looks as though Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic is doubtful after being taken off with a suspected muscle strain in the win over Spain.
England Potential Starting XI: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Gomez, Shaw, Dier, Winks, Dele, Sterling, Rashford, Kane.
Croatia Potential Starting XI: Kalinic, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Vida, Jedvaj, Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic, Perisic, Kramaric, Rebic.
Stats & Facts
- When the sides last met at Wembley, England ran out 5-1 winners in a World Cup qualifying match in 2009.
- Before that, you’d have to go back 11 years to when Croatia last visited Wembley in a game that ended 3-2 to the away side and meant that England did not qualify for Euro 2008.
- England are unbeaten in their last four matches, winning three and drawing one (against Croatia).
- Since losing 6-0 away to Spain, Croatia are on an unbeaten run of three games.
Head To Head
- England – 4 – D 2 – Croatia – 3
- England 10/11
- D 13/5
- Croatia 29/10 (Coral)
Despite Croatia’s five-goal thriller in midweek, I suspect that this game will be more comparable to the 0-0 draw in Rjeka last month. With what’s at stake, I expect a cagey opening to the game which may keep the scores low. Harry Kane, backed by Wayne Rooney to beat his England goalscoring record, hasn’t bagged for his nation in seven games, so Sunday looks like a great opportunity to put that right.