Today’s Predictions: Croatia Vs England
Croatia 2 – 1 England
The 2nd semifinal match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 is between England and Croatia, with the 3 lions fancying a chance for their first World Cup final run since 1966.
- Date : 11th July 2018
- Time : 11:30 PM (IST)
- Venue : Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
England have surprised many with their dominating displays in the World Cup so far, leading many to believe this could be the first England team in recent years to post a decent challenge for the trophy. While Croatia have been one of the most impressive teams in the tournament, despite two nervy penalty shootout wins in their knockout games.
FIFA World Cup Qualification
England had a near perfect qualification campaign, with 8 wins and two away draws against Slovakia and Scotland. They scored 18 and conceded just 3 goals in a favourable group with just Slovakia as their nearest challengers. They won the group with an 8-point margin, with Harry Kane leading the way with 5 goals.
Croatia had a decent qualifying phase, where the overall quality of their midfield was the primary reason that they managed to finish second behind Iceland in the group, to set up a play-off tie against Greece. The Croats won that play-off comfortably, enhancing their reputation as play-off specialists as the final score read 4-1.
Team Form Before The Tournament
England have been unbeaten in their last 6 matches, with 3 draws and 3 wins. Credible draws against Brazil, Germany and Italy and a big win over The Netherlands helped Gareth Southgate’s young squad to gain some much needed confidence. Their most recent match against Costa Rica ended in a dominant 2-0 win.
Croatia have been going through a mixed run of form in recent months, with 3 wins and 2 defeats in their last 6 matches. They secured an impressive away victory against Mexico in tough conditions, to prove their mettle away from home as well, but were soon humbled by Brazil a week later. They were looking to re-organize before the tournament starts to make full use of the undisputed talent at their disposal, and that’s exactly what they did as they convincingly won their opening game. They followed that up with a stunning win over Argentina to top their group.
Croatia and England in the World Cup So Far
England earned 3 crucial points in their opening game against Tunisia, with Harry Kane scoring an important brace, including a dramatic stoppage time winner. The 3 lions played attractive football but found it hard to break down an average defence, something they’ll have to work on. They won their next game convincingly against Panama, before losing to Belgium in their 3rd game. England gave a spirited performance to overcome Colombia in the round of 16, on penalties, to book their quarter final place. In the quarters, England were dominant from the start, and overcame an uninspired Swedish side with relative ease, winning 2-0.
Croatia looked dominant from the first minute against a decent Nigerian side, and cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory to take sport in the group. In their second game, they produced arguably their biggest performance in history to completely dismantle giants Argentina 3-0. In their final game, they needed a late winner from Perisic to beat Iceland 2-1. They were given a stern test by Denmark in the round of 16, but eventually prevailed on penalties. Similarly, Russia managed to drag the Croats to penalties as well, where they again prevailed after a dramatic shootout.
Head To Head Record
These two nations have met 7 times before, with England winning 4 and Croatia winning 2 of them.
Gareth Southgate had some tough decisions to make when it came to finalizing the 23 man World Cup squad. The biggest exclusion was Ryan Bertrand, dropped in favour of Danny Rose and Ashley Young. Chris Smalling couldn’t find a place either, while Adam Lallana and Jack Wilshere were deemed not fit enough to board the plane to Russia.
Croatia have a fully fit squad to choose from, with Ivan Rakitic also brushing off his injury scare. They tend to pack the midfield and then play with a sole target man, a tactic which has seen them fend of sides much bigger than them in recent times. Many of their players play for some of the biggest clubs in world football, and would be targeting a deep run in this year’s World Cup. Striker Nicola Kalinic was sent home over his poor attitude towards training.
Players To Watch Out For
Harry Kane is England’s best hope in recent years to fire them to World Cup glory, with the prolific marksman one of the favourites for the golden boot. His Spurs’ teammate Dele Alli along with Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling will aid him in attack. Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Chelsea hotshot Ruben Loftus Cheek have been impressive of late and could lock down a permanent spot in the starting lineup.
Croatia have one of the most talented midfields in Europe, with Real Madrid pair Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic pulling the strings behind Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic and Inter pair Perisic and Brozovic. With a front 2 of Mandzukic and Kramaric, Croatia have the potential to cause massive upsets in this tournament. Dejan Lovren and Corluka are the big names in defence.
Croatia Vs England Betting Odds And Key Statistics
- England failed to qualify from the group stages for the first time since 1958, when they were knocked out in 2014.
- England are slight favourites in this clash, with their form considered to be better than their European counterparts.
- Croatia’s midfield is arguably the best in the world currently, with Luka Modric a top contender for the Golden Ball if his form continues
- Harry Kane has successfully carried his club form to this tournament. And is one of the favourites to win the golden boot. We recommend betting on him to score first in this match.
- Both these teams have been defensively compact of late, and we expect there to be less than 2.5 goals in this match.
England would be looking to reach their first World Cup final since they last won the trophy in 1966. In their way stand a resilient Croatian side, which has not been too convincing in its last 2 matches. We expect a very tight game, with England to nick it with the narrowest of Margins.
Our Predicted Score line : England 1-0 Croatia