Croatia vs England World Cup 2018
We’re down to the final four and an all-European World Cup final beckons. Croatia and England have done remarkably well to make it this far, and it’s incredible that one of these teams will be playing in the world’s biggest match in just a few days time.
Croatia went on a remarkable run at the 1998 World Cup, falling at this same stage to eventual winners France, and there is plenty to like about the Balkan nation coming into this match. Names like Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic are household in Europe, and it’s unlikely a country of Croatia’s size will produce such a talented squad in the near future. It’s now or never for the Croatians.
But while Croatia are perennial over-achievers on the world stage, England are exactly the opposite. The nation that invented the game has consistently disappointed over the years, and despite their 1966 triumph on home soil, the English have never made it back to the final stage.
Yet there’s a different feeling about this England side. It is an old adage that the World Cup is a young man’s game, and it’s plain to see that youth is the common denominator among successful sides at this tournament. Were you shocked at Germany and Argentina’s early exits? One quick look at their average age tells you all you need to know. France, Belgium and England’s young stars have run amok, and this is one of the key reasons why we think England will win this match.
Croatia aren’t an overly old side, and they were clinical in their 3-0 win over Argentina in the group stages, but two straight marathon matches will certainly have resulted in some heavy legs. England by contrast breezed through their match against Sweden and will surely be the more energetic of the two sides on Wednesday evening.
There is almost no relevant historical context for this matchup. England destroyed Croatia 4-1 and 5-1 during the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, although they haven’t met since. As it is, there have only been seven meetings in total between the teams.
England start as the favourite, and we can only imagine it is because of the difficulty Croatia had in knocking off Denmark and Russia in their last two knockout matches. Croatia boast the bigger names, yet there is a sense that after two penalty shootout victories their luck is about to run out.
We agree with this sentiment, and believe England will win in regulation time. A 2-1 victory is our pick, and football will be one step closer to coming home.
Croatia vs England Preview
Croatia vs England will kickoff at 2pm ET on Wednesday, July 11 and will be played at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Croatia Likely Starting XI
- Danijel Subasic
- Sime Vrsaljko, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic
Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ante Rebic
- Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric
- Mario Mandzukic
Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic is in serious doubt after appearing to injure himself badly during the final minutes of regulation time against Russia, yet he carried on and still was influential in the shootout. Croatia need him to start.
Ante Rebic excelled against Russia after getting the call up at Marcelo Brozovic’s expense. All will depend on the formation Croatia go with, but we have a feeling Rebic will remain in the lineup. This will mean another start for Andrej Kramaric in the front three.
England Likely Starting XI
- Jordan Pickford
- Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Ashley Young
- John Stones
- Jesse Lingard, Jordan Henderson, Delle Alli
- Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling
There’s not a chance (barring injury) that Gareth Southgate will alter his starting lineup given how well they performed against Sweden. Calm and composed, it was their first clean sheet, and you would think only subtle formation changes will be apparent.
Raheem Sterling was much better against Sweden than what he showed against Colombia, although he will again be up against a more physical side here. Expect him to play in behind Harry Kane, who will play in the traditional number nine role.
Other Betting Opportunities
Remember that the head to head market is relevant for the result at the end of 90 minutes, and in the event of the match going to extra time or penalties the ‘draw’ option would be the winner.
If you think there is the possibility of extra time, as we do, the ‘will there be an overtime’ market from Sports Interaction is paying +184. Although this is one of the shortest prices we have seen for extra time, and considering Croatia have gone the distance twice already, we’re not tipping this match to go beyond 90 minutes.
If you would rather take the option of picking which team will progress, Betway offer a ‘to qualify’ line, and are paying -154 for an England win regardless of whether penalties are required to separate the teams. Croatia are paying +125, which is great value if you think they can upset the English.
Of course, there are plenty of other markets that could provide a decent outlay, and may be a safer bet than the head to head opportunities.
England have only kept one clean sheet so far in this tournament, and both sides have scored plenty of goals. We are confident this match will feature strikes from both teams, and the +108 on offer is a great pick.
Harry Kane didn’t manage a goal against Sweden, but is the leading scorer for the tournament and can’t be far off another goal. At +111, he is the best chance in the anytime goalscorer market.
Picking the correct score is tough, although there’s plenty of reward for your risk. At +1100, our 2-1 prediction will certainly bolster the kitty if it comes up.
FIFA World Cup Knockout Stage Odds
***Round of 16
SATURDAY, JUNE 30
Match 50: France vs Argentina Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 49: Uruguay vs Portugal Odds (2 p.m. ET)
SUNDAY, JULY 1
Match 51: Spain vs Russia Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 52: Croatia vs Denmark Odds (2 p.m. ET)
MONDAY, JULY 2
Match 53: Brazil vs Mexico Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 54: Belgium vs Japan Odds (2 p.m. ET)
TUESDAY, JULY 3
Match 55: Sweden vs Switzerland Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 56: Colombia vs England Odds (2 p.m. ET)
FRIDAY, JULY 6
Match 57: France vs Uruguay Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 58: Brazil vs Belgium Odds (2 p.m. ET)
SATURDAY, JULY 7
Match 60: Sweden vs England Odds (10 a.m. ET)
Match 59: Russia vs Croatia Odds (2 p.m. ET)
TUESDAY, JULY 10
Match 61: France vs Belgium (2 p.m. ET)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11
Match 62: Croatia vs England (2 p.m. ET)
SATURDAY, JULY 14
Match 63: Match 61 loser vs. Match 62 loser (10 a.m. ET)
SUNDAY, JULY 15
Match 64: Match 61 winner vs. Match 62 winner (11 a.m. ET)
=> World Cup Final Odds