England take on Croatia on Wednesday evening, with a place in the World Cup final at stake. No one predicted Gareth Southgate’s side would get this far, but it’s hard to envisage a more presentable opportunity for the Three Lions.
Where and when: Luzhniki Stadium – 11 July, kick-off 19:00
Where you can see Croatia vs. England: ITV
Last time: England smashed Croatia 5-1 the last time the countries met, which was in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.
|Both teams to score||11/10||Offer|
|Kane to score first||31/10||Offer|
|England to win both halves||15/2||Offer|
Croatia v England Predictions and Preview
All of a sudden, a promising draw for England has become a wonderful opportunity to reach a first World Cup final since the Three Lions won the tournament in 1966. It’s already their best performance since 1990, while it’s Croatia’s best showing since they came third at France 98.
This England team has already exceeded expectations in Russia, but Southgate is keeping his players grounded while allowing them to believe they have a chance of winning the World Cup. The Three Lions were comfortable for the vast majority of their quarter-final against Sweden, with few nervous moments aside from a couple of decent saves from Jordan Pickford.
Although they’ve hardly set the knockout stages alight with fluid attacking football, England have done what they needed to. A real threat from set-pieces, the Three Lions are 11/8 in the betting, which makes them the slight favourites.
Croatia are 13/5, and just like England, they’ll need to improve their performance if they want to reach the final. The Blazers have gone off the boil a little since beating Argentina 3-0, and they’ve needed two penalty shootouts to get to this point.
Zlatko Dalic’s side have got more miles on the clock than England, and that could be a factor when the teams meet on Wednesday. There’s no scope for handing out rests, but some of the Croatian players looked dead on their feet in extra-time against Russia, so they need to recover fast.
Sime Vrsaljko is the only injury concern for either manager, although Jamie Vardy is still recovering from a slight groin issue. He remained on the bench against Sweden, and Southgate will hope he’s available as an option for this one.
It may come down to a substitute, set-piece or moment of magic to settle this game. With so much at stake, it could be a tight and tense affair, and the draw after 90 minutes is priced at 11/5. You can back England to qualify at 4/6, while Croatia are 11/8.
One to watch for Croatia: Luka Modric has been the driving force behind Croatia’s run to the semis. The Real Madrid midfielder is 25/2 for the first goal, and 5/1 to score anytime.
One to watch for England: Harry Kane is leading the race for the Golden Boot, and he’s guaranteed two more games this summer no matter Wednesday result. He is 31/10 for the first goal.
Long shot: England’s other Harry opened the scoring in their quarter-final, and Maguire is 35/1 to repeat the trick against Croatia.